How To Report a Nursing Home

Nursing home abuse and neglect can result in serious harm or death to vulnerable residents. It’s essential to report nursing home abuse to protect your loved one and hold facilities accountable for their actions. Learn how you can report nursing home abuse and what other options you may have to get justice for your loved one’s suffering.

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How to Anonymously Report a Nursing Home

To anonymously report a nursing home, you can contact your local long-term care ombudsman or file a complaint with your state’s Department of Public Health.

You can also call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 for directions to the appropriate agency. This locator tool is run by the Administration on Aging (AoA), which works with state and local agencies across the country as part of the Older Americans Act (OAA).

Each state has regulations that protect the identities of anyone reporting nursing home abuse unless they agree to reveal it or a court orders them to do so. They are also protected from retaliation or legal action.

TIP: To be certain you maintain anonymity, avoid providing personal information. Research your local laws beforehand to understand your rights and protections. If you still have concerns, talk with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to see if they can help.

If you have additional questions about how to anonymously report a nursing home, the team at Nursing Home Abuse Justice is here to help.

Connect with us now or download our FREE Nursing Home Abuse Handbook to learn more.

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Learn about potential signs of abuse and how you can pursue justice

Should I Report Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Yes. Nursing home abuse is a serious crime that can quickly worsen and even turn deadly if not stopped. There is no question that you should report nursing home abuse. And you can do so in several ways, from local agencies to national organizations.

Nursing home abuse can also be reported by:

  • Connecting with an ombudsman (representatives for residents)
  • Contacting Adult Protective Services (APS) in your state
  • Seeking nursing home abuse legal help
  • Talking with doctors and other medical personnel

By reporting suspected abuse, you can open an investigation into a resident’s overall well-being while they are living in a facility. You may even be able to hold nursing facilities legally accountable if they harmed your loved one.

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Can Staff Report Nursing Home Neglect?

Yes. In fact, staff members are required, both by law and internal policies at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, to report nursing home abuse and neglect.

Nursing home staff can report abuse without facing disciplinary action from their employer or legal liability. Ignoring nursing home abuse carries serious penalties.

Staff members and home care providers who ignore abuse may be fired, lose their medical license, or get arrested. Caregivers also can face civil lawsuits for abuse or negligence.

Abuse and neglect may only worsen if left unchecked, meaning your loved one could continue to suffer.

Options for How to Report a Nursing Home

It’s critical to know about your options to report nursing home abuse so you can find the best resources that will help your loved one.

If your loved one is in immediate danger or having a medical emergency, dial 911 to report nursing home abuse and get help right away.

Below, find some of the most important people and groups you can report nursing home abuse to.

How To Report a Nursing Home to the Ombudsman

You can report a nursing home to your state’s ombudsman through the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. From there, your concerns and complaints can be addressed through an investigation.

A nursing home ombudsman protects the rights of residents and resolves health and safety issues in long-term care facilities. An ombudsman serves as a middleman between facilities and residents.

A nursing home ombudsman is responsible for:

  • Addressing resident complaints of poor treatment, neglect, or abuse
  • Educating residents about their rights and available resources
  • Recommending changes based on their experiences with older Americans

All states and several U.S. territories were granted a long-term care ombudsman program under 1978 amendments to the OAA.

How To Report a Nursing Home to the Local Authorities

You can report nursing home abuse through local authorities such as the police or your state’s Adult Protective Services (APS) branch.

The police can help you take immediate action if a resident has been seriously harmed or died due to abuse.

Law enforcement can file criminal charges for:

  • Assault or homicide
  • Financial coercion
  • Sexual assault

Call your local APS branch if you believe your loved one might be suffering from abuse or neglect. A social worker can take note of your concerns and launch an investigation into the resident’s well-being.

To find phone numbers for local branches of the APS, visit the National Adult Protective Services Association website.

Nursing Home Law Firms

Sometimes, the only way victims of abuse and their loved ones feel like they can get closure is to file a lawsuit against negligent nursing homes.

Taking legal action not only seeks justice for those harmed but also holds facilities accountable, sending a powerful message about how nursing home neglect and abuse are unacceptable.

Working with an experienced nursing home law firm makes the legal process as stress-free as possible.

Get a free case review right now to see if we can connect you with a top nursing home law firm near you.

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If your loved one has suffered, connect with a trusted attorney today.

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Eldercare Locator

The Eldercare Locator connects older adults to housing, health care, and other government resources.

Learn more by calling the toll-free elder and nursing home abuse complaint hotline at 1-800-677-1116. Operators are standing by Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. You may also visit

National Center on Elder Abuse

Established in 1988, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a hub of information and resources. This advocacy group works to make it easier to spot and report nursing home abuse through education and training. It also lobbies for policy changes to improve the quality of life for older adults.

Through the NCEA, you can learn how to:

  • Connect with local elder support resources
  • Identify and report nursing home abuse
  • Spread awareness about elder abuse

Report nursing home abuse today and seek swift justice. Get started by calling our team at (800) 896-7040.

Doctors and Medical Experts

It can sometimes be hard to know the difference between symptoms of normal aging and mistreatment. Problems like bruised skin, falls or fractures, bedsores, and dehydration are not always evidence of neglect or abuse. This is where a medical expert’s opinion can help.

“[Doctors] are in a unique place to be able to comprehensively look at a patient. They have an opportunity to identify elder abuse and to reach out to the community or make appropriate referrals to break the cycle of violence or neglect.”

—Amy Berman, Registered Nurse, John A. Hartford Foundation

Doctors can examine nursing home residents for physical and emotional signs of abuse or neglect.

Nursing Home Abuse Types and Warning Signs

Nursing home residents can experience many types of abuse, like physical harm, emotional mistreatment, neglect, and sexual assault.

How to report a nursing home abuse case can be a challenge since the warning signs of abuse vary greatly. However, one common thread is that abuse or neglect will lead to negative changes in your loved one’s physical or emotional health.

A nursing home resident with a walker looks concerned while a staff member helps him up.

Reporting possible signs of any type of abuse can help to stop problems before they worsen.

Warning signs of nursing home abuse are listed below.

Physical Abuse Warning Signs

  • Broken bones and other serious injuries
  • Bruises and welts
  • Cuts, burns, or sores

Neglect Warning Signs

Sexual Abuse Warning Signs

  • Bruising and/or bleeding around the genitals
  • Development of STDs from sexual abuse
  • Stained or torn clothing or bedding

Emotional Abuse Warning Signs

  • Changes in behavior or sleep patterns
  • New onset of depression, fear, or anxiety

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If your loved one has suffered, connect with a trusted attorney today.

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Documenting Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you think a loved one is being harmed, note any possible signs the moment your suspicions are raised.

Keeping track of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can make it easier to report them later on. It can also strengthen the case if it results in a criminal or civil nursing home abuse lawsuit.

To start, write down when you first noticed negative changes in your loved one. Include as much detail as possible about when, where, and how the abuse occurred.

It may also be helpful to take photos as evidence if you think your loved one is suffering from neglect or physical abuse.

Next Steps to Report Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

By reporting nursing home abuse, you and your family members can begin to heal from this awful trauma. Reporting abuse also helps bring those responsible to justice and prevents them from harming others.

If you have questions or concerns about reporting nursing home abuse, connect with our team. Our Patient Advocates can assess possible cases of nursing home abuse or neglect and recommend the next steps for you to take.

You can also learn if financial compensation is available to cover medical treatments and other expenses.

Get started today with a free case review.

How To Report a Nursing Home FAQs

How do you investigate nursing home abuse?

You can investigate nursing home abuse by regularly checking on loved ones.

If you notice any negative changes in their appearance or behavior, take note of them in as much detail as possible. With care, ask your loved one what happened. You may also want to take pictures or videos.

Finally, you can report nursing home abuse to the proper authorities, who can launch an investigation.

How do I report negligence in a nursing home?

You can report negligence in a nursing home to a long-term care ombudsman. A nursing home ombudsman is trained to resolve complaints about poor care that leads to neglect. They can work with you and the nursing home to address the problem.

If nursing home neglect leads to severe injuries or wrongful death, report it to local authorities like the police. Remember, serious cases of abuse or neglect may be considered a crime.

How do I report a nursing home to the state?

This varies depending on the state you live in. Access the list of State Survey Agency websites and see how you can report nursing home abuse in your state.

What information is required when reporting nursing home abuse and neglect?

This depends on the factors in your case. However, it’s helpful to collect and provide as many details as possible so investigators can better understand what happened.

Learn more about what you’ll need to file a report by speaking with an ombudsman, police officer, or nursing home neglect lawyer.

Who regulates nursing homes?

Nursing homes are regulated by both state and federal agencies. In the United States, the primary federal agency is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Additionally, each state has its own regulatory body that oversees and inspects these facilities. They work to ensure nursing homes meet set standards for resident care and safety.

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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: November 16, 2023

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