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What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Erin Oxendine
Erin Oxendine

Nursing home abuse is the physical or psychological abuse of a resident in a nursing home. Mistreatment of the resident in the facility could occur in a variety of ways. Some of the types of abuse may include neglect, physical and mental abuse, and financial abuse.

One form of elder abuse might include inadequate nutrition and hydration. Family members may notice the senior relative appearing very hungry or wanting more to drink than usual. In addition, the resident might suddenly start to lose or gain weight. This could suggest the senior individual is not receiving proper food or liquids.

The people who can be guilty of abusing the elderly include doctors and nurses.
The people who can be guilty of abusing the elderly include doctors and nurses.

A change in social behavior may be an indicator of abuse. Maltreatment may affect the victim’s personality, and could make him or her withdrawn. A possible clue that a person is experiencing abuse is that he or she may not want to socialize and interact. In some instances, abuse could also make a normally reserved person loud and aggressive.

Relatives may notice that a possible victim of nursing home abuse becomes scared if a staff member walks into the room. The resident may turn away or show obvious signs of being frightened. In some cases of physical abuse especially, the person who is committing the abuse might even try to corner the victim to keep him or her from seeking help.

Older residents are often targets of abuse because the elderly are sometimes disabled, could have dementia, and may not be able to report abuse if it has occurred. If family members think abuse is occurring, they should ask the resident about the type of care he or she is getting. Facility workers should be able to provide accounts of the resident’s behavior and daily routine if the resident is unable to talk.

Mishandling of a resident's funds is another form of nursing home abuse. The resident’s savings account may suddenly have a negative or low balance. Checks may go through the bank which the resident has no recollection of writing.

It is sometimes difficult to prove nursing home abuse has occurred since the elderly person may not be able to report if anything has happened. Sometimes a family member may get a hunch that something is not right, but be unable to determine the cause. If you suspect nursing home abuse is going on, you may want to seek the advice of a nursing home lawyer.

A nursing home lawyer specializes in elder abuse law. He or she can investigate your claim to determine what type of nursing home abuse may have occurred. If the attorney thinks thinks neglect may have happened, the local and regional agency may be asked to look into the allegation of abuse.

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    • The people who can be guilty of abusing the elderly include doctors and nurses.
      By: Sandor Kacso
      The people who can be guilty of abusing the elderly include doctors and nurses.