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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing home abuse is all too common. Our elders too often endure physical, emotional, or financial harm as well as neglect—far more often than is reported—while in a facility being paid to care for and protect them.

If you know or suspect that your loved one has been abused while in a nursing home, call us at 800-796-1636 or submit your case details online and someone will contact you shortly. You pay nothing unless your lawsuit is successful and you receive compensation.

At Trustwell Law, our experienced attorneys take a personalized, compassionate approach. We cut through the legalese and partner with our clients. We have access to the expertise, resources, and manpower to fully investigate each case and fight for and with our clients to get the justice they deserve.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse takes many forms, potentially actionable abuses include:

  • Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse may involve the patient being insulted, threatened, isolated, or belittled. Manipulation may also be emotional abuse, such as when a patient is told that if they complain about their treatment, care will be withheld.
  • Physical abuse: Physical abuse in an assisted-care situation isn’t limited to the obvious—striking or harmful physical contact. It may also be physical abuse if a caregiver force-feeds or overmedicates a patient, or uses excessive physical or chemical restraint.
  • Sexual abuse: A patient may be sexually abused by a caregiver, by another employee or resident of the facility, or even by a visitor. Sexual abuse is not limited to the use of force but may occur when the patient is too weak or ill to consent.
  • Neglect: Neglect occurs when a caregiver or facility fails to meet the appropriate standard of care. Examples of neglect can include failing to provide adequate food and clothing, failing to provide adequate medical treatment, failing to help with personal hygiene, and failing to maintain safe and sanitary living conditions. Bedsores in nursing home patients are a possible sign of abuse.
  • Financial abuse: Examples of financial abuse include cashing a patient’s check without permission or forcing the patient to sign documents to get access to their funds or possessions. Signs that an elderly or disabled person may be at risk for financial abuse include:
    • Non-use of social services
    • No spouse or partner
    • Poor self-rated health
    • Needing assisted daily living assistance

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?

Elder abuse is extremely common, especially in nursing homes. In general, as people age, they are more likely to experience abuse, and adults in nursing homes are even more likely than other older adults to be abused or neglected.

Studies estimate that:

  • About 5 million elders are abused each year.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse.

In one national survey of nursing home staff members:

  • 36% of the respondents reported witnessing at least one instance of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year.
  • 10% reported committing at least one act of physical abuse toward an elderly patient.
  • 40% admitted they psychologically abused their nursing home patients.

What Factors Contribute to Nursing Home Abuse?

Many factors contribute to nursing home abuse and neglect:

  1. Nursing homes may not have enough staff members to adequately care for their patients.
    • Lack of personnel can lead to neglect and errors.
    • Too few staff members can allow an abuser to go unnoticed.
      • One study estimated that 90% of nursing homes in the U.S. do not have enough staff to provide adequate care.
      • In some cases, a single nurse’s aide was expected to cover 30 people!
      • A typical ratio is 1 to 15.
        • The recommended ratio is 1 to 3 during a meal, and 1 to 6 at other times.
  1. Staff members may be poorly trained, which can contribute to neglect and abuse.
  1. Nursing home residents may suffer from cognitive issues such as dementia, or physical issues, which make them more vulnerable to abuse.
    • It is estimated that 50% of people with dementia have experienced some form of neglect or abuse.
  1. Overmedication and improper administration of medication increase the likelihood of elder abuse.

Click here to read about specific circumstances that factor into determining whether a nursing home is negligent when a patient is harmed.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Statistics

It is difficult to collect accurate statistics about nursing home abuse, partly because nursing home abuse is underreported. Why?

  • The patient may be embarrassed or ashamed.
  • A patient with dementia or Alzheimer’s may be unaware, or unable to report.
  • Fear of reprisal may prevent some nursing home abuse sufferers from reporting their abuse.

Experts estimate that for each report of abuse, 24 more go unreported or undetected.

Studies generally indicate that 90 percent of abusers are trusted individuals: staff, other residents, or familiar visitors.

Breaking down types of abuse, one study that collected self-reports found:

  • 11.6% incidents of psychological abuse
  • 6.8% financial abuse
  • 6.8% sexual abuse
  • 4.2% neglect
  • 2.6% physical abuse

Yet another study that also used self-reporting found:

  • 33.4% psychological abuse
  • 14.1% physical abuse
  • 13.8% financial abuse
  • 11.6% neglect
  • 1.9% sexual abuse

The statistics above reflect just two of the many studies and surveys of nursing home abuse. Virtually all those reviewed state that abuse is underreported (at least one source says that for each report of abuse, 24 go unreported or undetected) and that collecting accurate statistics is not really possible. That is evident from just the two studies statistics listed above. However, all sources agree on one disturbing fact: nursing home abuse is far more prevalent than reports would indicate.

Click here to read details about the types of abuse and their legal implications. 

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you suspect or are certain a loved one living in a nursing home has experienced abuse, contact us. We are here to help and advise you.



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