Nursing home abuse is a heinous crime that impacts millions of seniors every year. In fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 10% of elders have experienced some form of abuse.
Given the prevalence of elder abuse, many family members want to know what they can do to protect their loved ones in their nursing homes.
While nursing home abuse is not always preventable, there are some measures that family members can take to reduce the chances of their relatives experiencing abuse or neglect in their nursing homes.
WHAT IS NURSING HOME ABUSE?
Nursing home abuse is the physical, emotional, sexual, or financial exploitation of a nursing home resident. Nursing home abuse can be intentional or unintentional.
Unintentional abuse in a nursing home is also known as nursing home neglect, and it involves the withholding of the essential qualities of life from a senior, including food, water, medicine, clothing, and more.
Nursing home abuse may stem from understaffing. At some facilities, nursing home staff are overworked and do not have the time or energy to give each resident the care and attention they need and deserve.
While this in no way excuses nursing home abuse, it does explain why it may be so common.
It’s also good for family members to understand the widespread issue of understaffing at nursing homes so they know what to look out for when touring and selecting facilities.
COMMON TYPES OF NURSING HOME ABUSE
Contrary to popular belief, nursing home abuse isn’t just physical. Sadly, seniors experience a wide range of abuse and neglect in their nursing homes, including the following:
Physical abuse involves the use of force against a senior in order to inflict pain or impairment. Physical abuse may include:
- Unnecessary confinement
Emotional abuse involves threatening or humiliating a senior. Emotional abuse may include:
Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual act against a senior. Sexual abuse may include:
- Coercion using threats, force, or intimidation
- Sexual assault
- Unwanted sexual comments or advances
Financial abuse involves the use of deception or false pretense that allows for financial gain from a senior. Financial abuse may include:
- Forging checks
- Making unauthorized withdrawals
- Changing legal documents
WARNING SIGNS OF NURSING HOME ABUSE
Since it’s not always possible to prevent nursing home abuse, family members should be aware of the warning signs of abuse so they can take proper action if they suspect it.
The warning signs of nursing home abuse include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Physical abuse: Unexplained broken bones or bruises, broken eyeglasses, untreated wounds, laceration marks on the wrists or ankles, and more.
- Emotional abuse: Sudden change in the senior’s behavior, rocking back and forth, symptoms of depression and withdrawal, and more.
- Sexual abuse: Unexplained STDs, torn underwear, unexplained bleeding, and more.
- Financial abuse: Sudden change in the senior’s financial situation, unexplained withdrawals from the senior’s bank account, unusual subscriptions, and more.
HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD NURSING HOME
As we have mentioned previously, it’s not entirely possible to prevent all occurrences of nursing home abuse. There are, however, certain measures that family members can take to reduce the chances of nursing home abuse from occurring.
One of the main ways to prevent nursing home abuse is to select a safe facility for your loved one.
When considering nursing homes, it’s in your best interest to tour every facility in person. This way, you’ll get a better understanding of how the facility operates and treats its residents.
When touring a nursing home, keep an eye out for the following:
- Does the staff seem overworked or stressed? If so, this may be a sign that there are not enough staff members working at the facility to provide the residents with the level of care they deserve.
- Does the staff treat residents with kindness and patience? If they do not treat residents well when others are watching, one can only imagine how they treat them behind closed doors.
- Do residents have access to high-quality food and medicine? If so, there is a good chance that the residents will remain healthy during their stay.
- Do residents have access to a variety of fun activities? It’s important for residents to have social activities to keep their minds active. It’s also important that these activities be something everyone can access and participate in.
REPORTING NURSING HOME ABUSE
Sadly, nursing home abuse still occurs in every type of facility in the country, and even taking all of the aforementioned measures may not prevent every instance of abuse.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to know how to report nursing home abuse once you suspect it, so that its perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.
If you suspect your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, report it to the facility’s staff. If they deny your suspicions, contact an experienced attorney.
If you directly witness nursing home abuse, contact the authorities.
SUSPECT NURSING HOME ABUSE? CONTACT US TODAY
If you suspect your relative has experienced abuse in their nursing home and the facility’s staff did not take your claims seriously, our team at Garcia & Artigliere is here to help.
We’re committed to fighting nursing home abuse across the United States, and we have helped countless clients seek justice against abusers. Our attorneys hit back at abusers with the velocity and vitality needed to get the justice our clients deserve.
Contact us today at to schedule a free case review with our team.
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
Find out more about Stephen M. Garcia