Nursing Home Abuse

Unfortunately, our country’s eldest and most frail citizens are being abused and neglected.  Far too often these elderly citizens are victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect while residing in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other long-term care institution.


Elder abuse takes many different forms, but the most common forms of abuse are:

Physical Abuse 
Physical abuse is the non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting and shoving, but also includes the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is caused when a person speaks to or treats an elderly person in a manner that produces emotional pain or psychological distress. Emotional abuse can be either verbal or non-verbal. Verbal abuse includes yelling, screaming and/or humiliating an elderly person. Non-verbal abuse includes ignoring, isolating and/or terrorizing an elderly person.

Sexual Abuse 
Sexual abuse is any sexual contact with an elderly person without the elder’s consent. Such abuse can include unwanted physical acts, but may also include forcing the elderly person to undress or view pornographic material or other sex acts.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse and Neglect
How do you know whether an elderly person is being abused or neglected?  Unfortunatley, many people do not recognize when a loved one is being victimized because many of the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect mimic symptoms of mental deterioration and dementia.

The following are general signs of elder abuse:

* Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and elderly person;
* Unexpected changes in the elderly person’s personality or behavior;
* Unexplained fractures, dislocations, bruises, welts or scars;
* Report of either drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication;
* Behavior from the elderly person which mimics dementia;
* Bruises around the elderly person’s breasts or genitals;
* Unexplained venereal diesease or genital infections; and
* Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.

Caring for our elderly population can be extremely stressful.  Tragically, the stress of providing elder care can cause caregivers to become impatient and lash out against those to whom they provide care.  Other times, the stress of providing elder care can cause caregivers to refuse to provide the care an elderly person needs.  Nursing home staff may be especially prone to commit elder abuse and neglect due to lack of training, lack of staff, and lack of supplies.  These poor work conditions within nursing homes create the perfect storm for elder abuse.

The following are general signs of elder neglect:

* Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration;
* Unstable vital signs
* Untreated physical problems such as bed sores, contractures, and urinary tract infections;
* Unsanitary living conditions;
* Poor personal hygiene and grooming;
* Unsafe living conditions; and
* Elopement from a facility.

Nursing home residents have the legal right to be free from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, many companies that operate and manage nursing homes place more emphasis on the “bottom line” than with providing proper care. Nursing homes often increase their profits by understaffing and undersupplying the facility and by underpaying and inadequately training their employees. The emphasis of placing “profits over people” and “revenue over residents” often results in injuries that could and should have been avoided.

If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, please contact us immediately to address your concerns and to schedule your FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.