Nursing Home Abuse Types

Nursing home abuse takes many different forms. Seniors in nursing homes can be physically, emotionally, financially, or sexually abused in a residence that is supposed to take care of them. They can also be neglected for days, weeks or months. Below, learn about the different nursing home abuse types and how to take action against them.

Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents have legally protected rights and deserve to get the best care possible – and have the legally protected right to do so. Sadly, far too many older people in nursing homes suffer due to physical assault, neglect, and other forms of abuse.

There are five common nursing home abuse types, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

These types of elder abuse are:

  • Emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse
  • Neglect of a resident’s basic needs
  • Physical abuse or violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Financial exploitation

All nursing home abuse types can seriously harm older adults. Residents, family, and friends need to know about the different types and warning signs that someone has been abused. Taking early action against any type of nursing home abuse can prevent long-term harm.

Get a free case review if you or a loved one has suffered from abuse or mistreatment in a nursing home. You may be entitled to financial compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses for the harm done by nursing homes.

Learn about common nursing home abuse types below.

Physical Abuse

Physical nursing home abuse occurs when a resident suffers bodily harm or injuries. Over 9% of nursing home staff members admitted to physically abusing residents in a 2020 study from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Examples of physical abuse in a nursing home include:

  • Being punched or kicked
  • Being restrained with straps or ties
  • Getting pushed or shoved

Common signs of physical abuse among residents include broken bones, bruises, and bleeding.

Physical abuse can be committed against any kind of resident, but those with cognitive disorders may be more at risk.

Without proper medical attention, physical elder abuse can lead to long-term injuries or even death. Thankfully, financial aid may be available if you or a loved one suffered physical nursing home abuse.

For example, an older person who was beaten while staying in a nursing home and also suffered from neglect received $175,000 for their injuries by working with a skilled law firm.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional, verbal, or psychological abuse are words or actions used to harm and manipulate residents. It is the most common type of nursing home abuse. According to the WHO, over 32% of nursing home staff members said they had emotionally abused residents.

Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Controlling activities against a resident’s will (who they see, what they do)
  • Insulting the resident’s appearance or intelligence
  • Isolating seniors from family, friends, and other residents
  • Name-calling
  • Making threats

Residents that suffer from emotional elder abuse can develop long-term mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Signs that a loved one has been emotionally abused include negative changes in their mood or behavior.

Did you or a loved one suffer from any type of nursing home abuse? Call (800) 896-7040 to see if you can pursue compensation.

Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect occurs when staff members fail to provide proper care. As a result, the resident’s physical and emotional well-being suffers.

In a 2020 report from the WHO, 12% of nursing home staff members said they had neglected residents.

It is important to note that neglect is different from abuse. Nursing home abuse is a deliberate act performed to harm someone, while nursing home neglect is the result of severe carelessness or indifference.

Examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Failing to maintain a resident’s personal hygiene
  • Failing to provide enough food and water, leading to weight loss and dehydration
  • Failing to report injuries/illnesses to doctors or family members in a timely manner
  • Ignoring resident’s complaints
  • Leaving residents unattended for periods of time
  • Leaving residents who soil themselves to sit in their own filth
  • Making medication errors (not giving them at the right time)

Neglecting a nursing home resident can have horrifying results. A woman developed severe bedsores and was left to lie in her own feces due to severe neglect from a nursing home.

The woman also told her loved ones that at one point she wasn’t fed in two or three days and that staff members weren’t giving her needed medications. After filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, the woman and her family received $407,000.

Sexual Abuse

This type of abuse occurs when a resident experiences any form of unwanted sexual contact. It also includes inappropriate touching or groping.

Sexual abuse can cause residents to suffer from physical symptoms such as bruises, scratches, or lesions around the genitals. It can also cause the resident to contract a sexually transmitted disease.

Non-consensual sexual acts can lead to both physical harm as well as emotional trauma. Sadly, sexual elder abuse is often committed against residents who are disabled or unable to give consent.

In one case, a female nursing home resident complained that a male staff member attempted to sexually assault her before she screamed and he fled. The resident also suffered serious neglect due to untreated bedsores and pneumonia.

With legal help, the resident and her family secured $175,000 for her physical and emotional trauma.

Get a free case review to see if you can access compensation for any type of nursing home abuse.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse occurs when someone steals from a resident or uses manipulation to obtain a resident’s money.

Examples of financial abuse include:

  • Misusing power of attorney to change a resident’s will
  • Preventing the resident from accessing their own funds
  • Stealing a resident’s cash, credit cards, or valuables
  • Stealing a resident’s financial records or bank statements

Financial abuse can be very stressful for residents, as they can lose income and savings needed to pay for long-term care.

Other Nursing Home Abuse Types

The nursing home abuse types listed above are the most prominent, but some may experience other forms of abuse as well.

Other nursing home abuse types include:

1. Self-Neglect

Self-neglect occurs when an older adult cannot take care of themselves, leading to severe health issues.

Self-neglect may occur if an elderly person lives alone in a house or apartment. If an elder is showing any signs of neglect while living in a nursing home, staff members may be responsible.

2. Elder Abandonment

Elder abandonment often occurs when a caretaker leaves an older person who cannot care for themselves alone. However, nursing home residents can be abandoned by assisted living facilities, too.

In 2020, the New York Times reported on a facility in California that kicked out a resident with dementia and dropped him off at a halfway house. The facility didn’t inform the victim’s family members and he was found wandering the streets alone.

Who Commits Types of Nursing Home Abuse?

It is important to know who can commit nursing home abuse in addition to knowing about different types of abuse. Common perpetrators include nursing home staff, administrators, other residents, and even family members.

Nursing Home Staff

Staff members may abuse residents out of frustration or anger. They may also neglect to care for a resident’s basic health needs if they haven’t been trained properly or if the facility is understaffed.

That being said, there is no excuse for staff to harm nursing home residents. Any staff member that has abused or neglected an older person deserves to be punished for their actions.

Contact our team if you believe nursing home staff members harmed you or a loved one. You may be able to seek justice and compensation if you qualify.

Nursing Home Administrators

Administrators of long-term care facilities make decisions that affect the standard of care residents receive.

Unfortunately, administrators may get greedy and put profits ahead of quality senior care by hiring poor-quality staff members, understaffing nursing homes, or failing to keep the facility safe.

Nursing home administrators can also take advantage of residents financially by manipulating accounts and forging checks. This means residents may end up paying more without realizing it.

Finally, administrative staff can even commit emotional or verbal abuse against residents. This can occur by withholding information from residents or delaying responses to their concerns.

Other Nursing Home Residents

Other residents can also commit any type of nursing home abuse. Because of this, professional nursing home staff must be aware of their residents’ actions and those at risk.

If nursing home staff members fail to keep dangerous residents from harming others, they may also be held accountable.

Staff members at a facility in Florida knew three of its residents were sexually abusive but took no action despite repeated incidents. It wasn’t until the state banned the facility from adding new residents that it finally removed the abusers.

Family Members

Although it is uncommon, family members who come to visit senior relatives in nursing homes can abuse residents.

The nursing home has a responsibility to protect its residents from abuse — even when it’s carried out by a family member. It is vital for staff members to be aware of interactions between family members and recognize possible signs of abuse.

Nursing home staff must also take all complaints seriously when it comes to their residents’ relationships with visiting family members.

Next Steps for Those Harmed by Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Remember: no matter what type of nursing home abuse your loved one has suffered, it is always unacceptable. Thankfully, there are steps you can take if an older resident you love has been harmed in a nursing home.

You can:

  1. Call 911 if a nursing home resident is in immediate danger
  2. Report abuse cases to an elder ombudsman or Adult Protective Services (APS)
  3. Connect with a nursing home abuse law firm to see if you can pursue compensation

Our team of skilled advocates can help see if you or a loved one has been abused or neglected and recommend next steps. Get a free case review right now to start the process.

FAQs About Nursing Home Abuse Types

How many types of nursing home abuse are there?

There are five main nursing home abuse types according to the NCEA. They include physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, and neglect.

Additional nursing home abuse types include self-neglect and abandonment.

All nursing home abuse types are entirely unacceptable and should never happen.

What is the most common type of nursing home abuse?

The most common type of nursing home abuse is emotional abuse. Nearly 33% of nursing home staff members admitted to psychologically abusing residents in a 2020 report from the WHO.

Further, nearly 65% of nursing home staff said they committed at least one type of nursing home abuse, according to the WHO.

How can I get help for different nursing home abuse types?

You can get help for many nursing home abuse types by getting a free case review. Our patient advocates have experience helping those harmed in nursing homes get financial compensation and justice through the legal system.

You can also reach out to different nursing home advocates such as an ombudsman, a branch of your local APS, or even the police to get help.

You deserve justice. Get a free legal case review now.

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: September 23, 2021

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