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Elder Neglect For Family Members And Carers


Elder neglect occurs when someone fails to properly care for an elder. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for caring for the elder. The carer may not bathe, dress, or feed the elder regularly. The carer may leave the elder alone in unsafe places. He may not give the elder treatments or give him the wrong amount of medicines. Neglect can happen in the elder's own home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that the elder may need. Informed consent means he understands what will be done and can make decisions about what he wants. He gives his permission when he signs the consent form. He can have someone sign this form for him if he is not able to sign it. He has the right to understand his medical care in words he knows. Before he signs the consent form, he should understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all his questions are answered.


The elder may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. He may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask his healthcare provider before you take off his mask or oxygen tubing.

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check the elder's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about his pain. These vital signs give healthcare providers information about his current health.


A special diet may be considered depending on the elder's condition. A dietitian may talk to the elder about his eating habits and help him create a healthy meal plan.

  • If he has trouble chewing, he may need thickened liquids to drink or soft foods to eat. Some examples are applesauce, bananas, and cooked cereal.
  • He may need to be fed by an IV or a nasogastric (NG) tube if he cannot eat. An IV is a tube placed in his vein for giving medicine or liquids. An NG tube is put in through the nose and goes down into his stomach.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Healthcare providers may give him medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Do not wait until the elder's pain is severe to ask for medicine for him. Tell healthcare providers if his pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling his pain if he waits too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make him dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a healthcare provider when he wants to get out of bed or if he needs help.
  • Other medicines: Medicines may be given if the elder has other conditions that must be treated.


  • Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests may be done to check for health problems, such as malnutrition and infection.
  • X-rays: The elder may need x-rays if he has pressure ulcers or bruising. Healthcare providers may use these pictures to see if there is an infection in the bone near a pressure ulcer. They may also check to see if his bones are bruised or broken. X-rays of his chest and abdomen may also be taken.
  • 12-lead ECG: This test is also called an EKG or ECG. Sticky pads are placed on the elder's skin to record his heart's electrical activity. An EKG gives information about how his heart is working. He will need to lie as still as possible during the test.
  • Neurologic signs: This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show healthcare providers how well his brain works after an injury or illness. Healthcare providers will check how his pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested.


  • Counseling: Elder neglect may cause the elder to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. A healthcare provider may suggest that the elder see a counselor to talk about how he is feeling.
  • Other treatments: The elder may need treatment for injuries, wounds, or other health conditions.


If left untreated, the elder may develop serious health and emotional problems. He may develop dehydration or malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs when he does not get enough calories or nutrients from food to stay healthy. The elder may also become depressed. Elder neglect is a serious, life-threatening problem.


The elder has the right to help plan his own care. To help with this plan, he must learn about his health condition and how it may be treated. He can then discuss treatment options with his healthcare providers. Together they can decide what care and treatment may be used. The elder always has the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Elder Neglect For Family Members And Carers (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes