Nobody likes to think of a caregiver hurting their elderly loved one. However, if your loved one is living in a nursing home, it is important to be aware of both nursing home neglect and abuse. 
 
Many people believe that neglect and abuse are the same thing, but they are two separate issues. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, abuse is active mistreatment that causes direct harm, while neglect is a breach of duty on the part of caregivers. 
 
What constitutes a “breach of duty?” 
 
Generally, nursing home neglect is when the staff of a nursing home does not provide adequate care to those who are living in the facility. For example, failing to deliver meals on a regular basis can be both neglect or abuse, depending on the motivation behind it. 
 
In a neglect situation, understaffing may lead to the failure of meal delivery. In this instance, nobody is actively trying to hurt the person who is not getting the meal, but the person is being underfed regardless. This is neglect. On the other hand, in an abusive situation, the person responsible for providing the meals is actively withholding them. 
 
What should I know about nursing home neglect? 
 
The sad truth is that nursing home neglect is much more common than you may believe. The nursing home abuse center estimates that between the years 1999 and 2001, roughly 1 in 3 care facilities was in violation of federal standards. 
 
This is why it is very important to keep an eye on your elderly loved ones when they enter care facilities. The majority of nursing homes are not guilty of abuse or neglect, but it is important to be aware it exists and does occur.