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An old man sitting alone in a wheelchair in a nursing home without supervision.

Lack of Supervision

A lack of supervision in a nursing home or assisted living facility occurs when staff members fail to properly supervise and/or monitor facility residents in accordance with each resident’s individualized needs. This can occur as a result of understaffing or it can occur when a facility is sufficiently staffed, but those staff members simply aren’t doing their job. Regardless of the cause, a lack of supervision will almost always lead to preventable injuries among nursing home and/or assisted living facility residents. Those preventable injuries usually manifest in the following ways:

  1. Failure to Recognize a Significant Change in Condition. A lack of supervision and monitoring will undoubtedly result in a delay in recognizing and addressing resident health issues if that change is even recognized at all. In these circumstances, changes in residents’ conditions often go unnoticed and residents are deprived of critical medical care. For instance, bed sores/pressure ulcers can worsen, infections can spread, and medication can be withheld.

  2. Failure to Assist. Residents usually require assistance with one or more activities of daily living. When residents are deprived of that assistance, they look for ways to self-help. In some situations, residents might try to get out of bed or out of a wheelchair, unassisted. This can lead to preventable falls and associated injuries.

  3. Inadequate Care and Treatment. A lack of supervision means a lack of necessary care and treatment. Oftentimes, nursing home residents (and some assisted living facility residents) are unable to speak up, get a nurse’s attention, ask for help, or tell a nurse that something is wrong. When staff are not properly supervising and interacting with facility residents, residents do not receive the care and treatment they so desperately need.  

  4. Malnutrition/Dehydration. A lack of supervision also places residents at risk for malnutrition and/or dehydration as food and drink may not be served at regular intervals or staff may not be around to assist residents with swallowing difficulties. These issues can lead to a host of cascading problems, all of which could have been prevented with proper supervision.

  5. Poor Hygiene. A lack of supervision may lead to a lack of personal hygiene. This, in turn, can lead to preventable illnesses, infections, and a deterioration of the residents’ overall health.

  6. Abuse. A lack of supervision creates an environment where resident-on-resident abuse and staff-on-resident abuse can flourish.

  7. Emotional and Social Isolation. A lack of supervision, like understaffing, can also lead to social isolation and emotional distress. Loneliness and lack of social interaction can contribute to depression, anxiety, and a diminished overall sense of well-being.

That said, for a lack of supervision to evolve into an actionable legal matter, the resident must suffer some type of injury or consequence. In other words, while a lack of supervision, in and of itself, might raise a red flag, you would not have a case against a facility unless that lack of supervision caused an injury or other harm.


If you or your loved one was injured at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the experienced attorneys at FIDJ, before it’s too late.

*The information contained herein is not, and must not be construed as medical advice.

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We Hold Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Group Homes, and Adult Day Care Centers Accountable.

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