A Growing Problem

Nursing home abuse is a growing problem, as many elderly residents fail to report these incidents because they are ashamed or feel intimated. Nursing home injury cases caused by nursing home negligence is a growing problem in the United States. Federal government studies reveal that at least 30 percent of the nursing homes across the country have committed some form of negligence or malice that has resulted in personal injury to elderly patients.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in different stages of healing
  • Abrupt behavioral changes
  • Staff who do not allow you to be alone with your loved one
  • Bedsores
  • Mysterious venereal disease or genital infections
  • Residents who are kept constantly over-medicated
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding and stained or bloody undergarments
  • Staff who refuses to allow visitors or delays visitation

If you suspect that your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse, immediately notify the head of the nursing home and document it in writing. Ask the head of the organization to investigate and call you. Then:

  • Make more frequent, unexpected visits
  • Keep a close eye on the abused person
  • Document and photograph any bruises, cuts or bedsores
  • Follow up on your request with the head of the nursing home
  • Document what you are told and other things you observe at the home
  • Make a note of how the staff acts towards you
  • Talk to your loved one and other residents about signs

It can be very difficult when a loved one ages to know how best to continue to care for him or her. Many people struggle with the choice of putting a parent or grandparent into a nursing home, fearing that they could become the victim of abuse or neglect. Federal and state laws require that nursing homes maintain the highest practicable mental, physical, and psychosocial well-being for their patients. Unfortunately, such cases do happen, with elderly victims suffering at the hands of their supposed caregivers.

There are four common primary forms of nursing home abuse:

Physical Abuse

  • Physical abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.

  • Physical abuse can range from beating, pushing, shoving to inappropriate distribution of controlled substances and force feeding.

Emotional/ Psychological Abuse

  • Emotional abuse can encompass verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, public embarrassment, and harassment.

  • This type of social abuse can cause the elderly patient to exclude oneself from daily activities, be hesitant to speak up, among other long lasting traumatic effects.