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Elder Neglect


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


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.


A dietitian may talk to you about your eating habits and help you create a healthy meal plan.

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


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Other medicine: Medicines may be given if you have 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: You may need x-rays if you have 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 your bones are bruised or broken. X-rays of your chest and abdomen may also be taken.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.
  • Neurologic exam: This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.


  • Counseling: Elder neglect may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you see a counselor to talk about how you are feeling.
  • Other treatments: You may need treatment for injuries, wounds, or other health conditions.


If left untreated, you may develop serious health and emotional problems. You may develop dehydration or malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs when you do not get enough calories or nutrients from food to keep you healthy. You may also become depressed. Elder neglect is a serious, life-threatening problem.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.