6. Neglect

“Neglect” means either of the following:

1. The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.
2. The negligent failure of the person themselves to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.
Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
1. Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing or shelter.

2. Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.
3. Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
4. Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.

5. Failure of a person to provide the needs specified in paragraphs 1-4, inclusive, for themselves due to ignorance, illiteracy, incompetence, mental limitation, substance abuse or poor health.
(Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.57)

Examples of Neglect:

 A wheelchair bound resident is taken to the bathroom and told by the nursing assistant to call when she is ready to return other room. The resident rings the call bell and no one answers. Frustrated, the resident tries to get into her wheelchair by herself and falls and fractures her hip.

 A resident repeatedly uses a call bell attempting to get attention. After several trips to the resident’s room, the nursing assistant unplugs the call bell so the resident can no longer use it
 A registered nurse permits a nursing assistant to feed a peanut butter sandwich to a resident on a pureed diet.

 A resident with a long history of wandering walks outside of the facility undetected. Despite the resident’s history of wandering, she is not adequately supervised. The resident is discovered later that day drowned in a nearby stream.
 You observe staff not assisting a resident who you know needs assistance eating or you observe a staff member take food away from a resident who has not yet finished because it is time for the staff person’s break.

 You know that a resident has bleeding gums, loose teeth and hashed difficulty eating. The resident’s dentures were stolen and the resident has not been taken to a dentist.

 You discover residents that have been left in the care of a worker who has fallen asleep or is intoxicated while on duty.

 You arrive to begin your shift and notice that a resident has obviously been allowed to remain covered in feces or urine soaked undergarments all night.

 You observe a nursing assistant knowingly postponing a resident’s incontinent care to take a break.

Possible Indicators of Neglect
The following descriptions are not necessarily proof of neglect, but they may be clues that a problem exists. Some signs that indicate a resident has been a victim of neglect may include:

• Skin disorders or untreated rashes
• Unkempt, dirty, matted or uncombed hair, unshaven
• Neglected bedsores
• Signs of dehydration, malnutrition or sudden weight loss
• Soiled bedding or clothing
• Inadequate clothing
• Hunger
• Absence of, or failure to give prescribed medication
• Lack of necessary dentures, hearing aids or eyeglasses
• Untreated or unattended medical conditions

“Abandonment” means:

The desertion or willful forsaking of an elder or a dependent adult by anyone having care or custody of that person under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care and custody.

(Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.05)

Examples of Abandonment:
A facility takes a group of residents to an afternoon play, or other public location. A resident wanders away and the group returns to the facility leaving the resident unattended.

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