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Nursing Home Abuse: A Quick Overview

— November 8, 2021

Nursing home residents have the right to sue living assistance facilities for abuse.

Nursing home abuse ranks as a common occurrence because medical staff members invariably include those with hidden agendas. Some staff members hope to profit from seniors that have become forgetful. Others enjoy exerting control over other people’s lives, and some engage in predatory sexual behavior. Nursing home abuse includes both intentional and unintentional harm, and residents often have nowhere to turn. As a result, the abusers often have full control of residents’ lives.

Improper training, understaffing, and job burnout contribute to abusive activity. The abuse results include medical trauma, psychological torment, development of side effects, and possible death. However, according to the experts, the residents or their families can take key steps to identify patterns of abuse and prevent them.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics Provide Startling Confirmation of Abuse

About a third of nursing home patients have suffered episodes of mental or physical abuse. Astonishingly, two out of three nursing home staff members admit to occasionally abusing residents. About 85% of nursing homes report at least one case of abuse or neglect. The abuse might simply consist of negligence. Negligence becomes particularly insidious when patients depend totally on staff members for basic needs, comfort, and recreation.

Many people suffered and died because of staff neglect during the Covid-19 quarantine. If this subject is on your mind because someone you love might fall victim to such a crime, you should read more about nursing home abuse cases and learn the legal steps to take to prevent and solve the problem. 

A revealing NPR report found that 97% of abuse cases across five states went unreported to local law enforcement. Abuse cases in nursing homes require mandatory reports to local law enforcement. In many cases, there is no obvious evidence of abuse. Many staff members abuse their patients mentally and emotionally, and there are no physical signs of abuse. Physical abuse, however, certainly happens.

Common physical abuse includes kicking, pinching, slapping, punching, and delaying services like cleaning up after incontinence. Typical examples of emotional abuse include yelling, name-calling, publicly embarrassing the victim, and belittling any accomplishments.

According to an article at, emotional abuse might include the following:

  • Making threats
  • Treating patients like children
  • Exhibiting patronizing or sarcastic attitudes
  • Insisting on controlling patient finances
  • Lecturing patients on proper behavior
  • Digital spying on internet activity
  • Exploding with rage about common behavior

Theft of Patient Resources

According to the WHO, theft is a big problem in nursing homes. Other patients and staff members can take advantage of patients and their financial resources. Crooked people can trick patients into giving them valuable property and cash. If that doesn’t work, attempts to threaten the patients are often employed.

Tricky acts include identity theft, misuse of credit cards and checkbooks, theft of credit cards, and convincing elderly patients to include the thief in their wills.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Image of an elderly woman
Image of an elderly woman; image courtesy of geralt via Pixabay,

Emotional or physical abuse signs are easy to detect even if the patient can’t communicate well. If you pay close attention, you can identify the following symptoms of abuse:

  • Increased patient anxiety or depression
  • Unexplained bruises and welts on the body or genital areas
  • Development of STDs or parasites like lice
  • Inappropriate physical contact with a staff member
  • Signs of substance abuse
  • Bedsores
  • Signs of dehydration or malnourishment
  • New or worsening infections
  • Opening new bank accounts or credit cards
  • The onset of violent behavior
  • Changes to the power of attorney or financial management details

If you detect signs of abuse, you can contact your state’s branch of Adult Protective Services or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. You can also hire an attorney to investigate the matter.

Getting Legal Help

Nursing home residents have the right to sue living assistance facilities for abuse. Reporting your suspicions triggers an investigation. You should begin by contacting expert nursing home abuse attorneys to get all the information you need and schedule a consultation. 

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