Recognizing signs of passive neglect in a nursing home

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Nursing Home Negligence |

According to, there are approximately 4,000 residents in nursing homes in the state of Delaware. Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a decision filled with trust and hope. You trust the nursing home to provide quality care and hope that your loved one will enjoy their golden years in comfort. Unfortunately, sometimes a nursing home does not meet these expectations and instances of neglect can occur.

Passive neglect refers to situations where a caregiver unintentionally fails to meet the needs of a nursing home resident. This often occurs due to a lack of training, understaffing or caregiver burnout. Unlike active neglect, passive neglect does not involve deliberate harm but it can still have serious consequences for your loved one’s health and well-being. Understanding passive neglect and its signs can help protect your loved one from harm.

Physical neglect

Physical neglect can include inadequate assistance with personal hygiene, lack of clean clothing or bedding and failure to provide necessary medical care. Look for signs such as bedsores, frequent infections and unexplained weight loss which may indicate that the staff is not meeting your loved one’s physical needs.

Emotional neglect

Emotional neglect is more difficult to detect but no less harmful. If your loved one seems withdrawn, depressed or unusually agitated, they might be experiencing emotional neglect. Watch for changes in their mood or behavior, especially after interactions with staff members.

Nutritional neglect

Malnutrition and dehydration are serious concerns in cases of passive neglect. If your loved one often complains of hunger or thirst or appears weak and fatigued, they may not be receiving adequate food and water.

Taking action

If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing passive neglect in their nursing home, you need to take immediate action. Document your observations and report them to the nursing home administration. In Delaware, you can also report the situation to the Division of Health Care Quality.

The safety and well-being of your loved one is paramount. By understanding what passive neglect is and recognizing its signs, you can ensure that your loved one receives the quality care they deserve in their nursing home. Stay vigilant and remember, you have the power to protect your loved one.