Holding Hands

Handling Abuse Allegations in Nursing Homes

Nursing home abuse is a serious claim that many people may feel uncomfortable making. However, because nursing home residents are usually frail and often cannot defend themselves, all allegations of abuse must be taken seriously. Learn how to handle abuse allegations in nursing homes and keep your loved one safe.

Nursing Home Abuse Allegations: What Is Considered Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is never acceptable. When nursing home residents are harmed — intentionally or unintentionally — physical injury, emotional suffering, and even death can occur.

While nursing home residents may have preexisting illnesses or one-off accidents, far too many suffer severe injuries or death due to staff negligence or abuse. In these cases, the resident or their family members may report signs of abuse or neglect to the facility, other loved ones, or authorities like the police.

Abuse allegations in nursing homes can vary greatly. Abuse and neglect can take many forms. That said, it’s important for everyone involved to take all abuse allegations seriously.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including:

Some cases of nursing home abuse or neglect even result in death. In these heartbreaking situations, it is possible that wrongful death was at play.

If you believe that an older person you love is being abused or neglected, reach out to our team now. We listen to nursing home abuse allegations and pursue justice and financial aid for victims. Get started with a free legal case review.

How Abuse Allegations in Nursing Homes Are Reported

All facilities are required to have written policies in place for reporting abuse allegations or other incidents.

Further, there are laws that make certain people mandated reporters. These are generally people who have full or partial responsibility for caring for an elder. While laws vary by state and jurisdiction, mandated reporters may be legally responsible for reporting abuse allegations in nursing home settings.

Those with a legal obligation to report abuse or neglect may include:

  • Contract workers
  • Employees
  • Managers
  • Operators
  • Owners

Additionally, federal regulation requires nursing facilities to report all allegations of neglect or abuse to the proper authorities. These authorities may include the nursing home administrator, state survey agencies, and other officials specified by state law.

If people with the legal responsibility to report incidents of nursing home abuse do not take appropriate action, they could be held liable. This could even include getting named in nursing home abuse lawsuits.

Who Is the Abuse Prevention Coordinator in a Nursing Home?

Many nursing homes do not have a specific abuse prevention coordinator. This may leave concerned family members unsure about how to move forward with their abuse allegations.

However, it’s important to know that there are always options to report abuse allegations in nursing homes even if there is not a designated coordinator.

For best results, contact a nursing home administrator or look at the facility’s policies to see how you can report abuse allegations. You can also work with local law enforcement or specialized elder abuse attorneys.

Handling Abuse Allegations in Nursing Homes Amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has caused devastation across the globe. Sadly, nursing homes and other care facilities have been some of the hardest hit. This is partly because lockdowns and quarantines made visiting loved ones impossible.

Family and friends tend to be the advocates for nursing home residents. This is especially true with non-verbal and bedridden nursing home residents and those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Tragically, in an incident reported by Human Rights Watch, a nursing home resident with dementia died once her daughter could no longer visit during the pandemic.

The report states the daughter was informed that her mother wouldn’t wake up after a fall. She insisted her mother be taken to the emergency room. Sadly, by that point, it was too late. Doctors said her mother had already lost a great deal of weight and had a large infected bedsore. She died shortly after that.

“Before COVID-19, when I said something it got fixed, but [during the pandemic], I had to believe what they [staff] were telling me. It was my only option because I [couldn’t] get in.”

— Daughter of nursing home resident who died during lockdown

Because she was not made aware of her mother’s condition, the woman had no way to know about the mistreatment.

Sadly, the pandemic has been yet another grim reminder of why it is critical to monitor loved ones and bring allegations of nursing home abuse to the proper authorities without delay.

How to Stop Nursing Home Abuse

The most important way to stop nursing home abuse is to take action as early as possible. This is why it’s crucial to report abuse allegations in nursing homes immediately.

Mistreatment of nursing home residents can cause severe emotional, physical, and financial suffering. Therefore, it is critical to pay close attention to the care your loved one receives. If you notice signs of nursing home abuse, do not delay.

You can report nursing home abuse allegations by:

  • Calling Adult Protective Services (APS)
  • Filing a report with a nursing home ombudsman (representatives for residents)
  • Finding a nursing home abuse hotline in your state
  • Working with doctors and other medical personnel

Contact 911 if your loved one is in immediate danger.

Reporting nursing home abuse allegations is the best way to ensure your loved one is free from harm.

You may also wish to seek justice by taking legal action. Money recovered in a nursing home lawsuit can be used to get your loved one better care.

If your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t wait. Connect to an experienced nursing home abuse law firm now for a free and confidential case review.

Author:Nursing Home Abuse Justice Team
Nursing Home Abuse Justice Team

Nursing Home Abuse Justice was founded to shine a light on nursing home and elder abuse. Every day, thousands of people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are abused. Our team helps educate seniors and their loved ones on the common causes, signs and preventions of nursing home abuse. We report on real-world studies and current events from respected news outlets to expose this national problem.

Last modified: March 22, 2022

View 5 References
  1. American Bar Association. (n.d.). 2020 elder abuse reporting chart – American Bar Association. Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/law_aging/2020-elder-abuse-reporting-chart.pdf

  2. Department of Health & Human Services. (2014). Office of Inspector general. Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-13-00010.pdf

  3. Hawes, C. (1970, January 01). Elder abuse in residential long-term care settings: What is known and what information is needed? Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK98786/

  4. Hrach, M. (2022, January 13). Memphis Nursing Home under investigation for allegations of elder abuse. Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.fox13memphis.com/news/local/memphis-nursing-home-under-investigation-allegations-elder-abuse/4JI7FVID2NA4VDGSJDMHNKBPWM/

  5. Human Rights Watch. (2022, February 08). US: Concerns of neglect in nursing homes. Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/25/us-concerns-neglect-nursing-homes#