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Types of Nursing Home Abuse

More than 4 million people are admitted to nursing home facilities in America annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sadly, statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse estimate that about five million American seniors suffer from some form of abuse annually. The most common types of nursing home abuse include the following:

Physical Abuse

According to the National Center on Elderly Abuse (NCEA), physical abuse accounts for the largest portion of abuse in nursing homes at 29 percent. In fact, nearly half (50 percent) of the nursing home staff who took part in a 2010 nationwide survey confessed that they had mistreated their elderly patients within the past year.

Some of the telltale signs of physical abuse include unexplained bruises, cuts, fractured bones, swelling, and sprains. Force-feeding, improper drug use, and use of physical restraints also fall under this category. If you notice any of these signs of physical abuse in your loved one, you should not ignore them. Rather, try to find out what happened, and if necessary, take the appropriate legal action by working with a nursing home abuse attorney in Rockford, Illinois.

Sexual Abuse

According to a 2010 study from NORS, sexual abuse accounts for about 7 percent of all cases of abuse among the elderly in nursing homes. Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching, coerced nudity, sodomy, intercourse, and taking nude pictures of patients. These are all forms of sexual abuse.

Some of the typical signs of sexual abuse include bruises on the genitals, unexplained STDs and genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding, torn underwear, and reports of abuse from the victim.

Emotional Abuse

A study published in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect showed that 60 percent of the caregivers had been verbally abusive toward their patients. Insults, intimidation, humiliation, and threats may cause a person to suffer from psychological anguish. Social isolation from friends, family, and group activities can also be emotionally traumatizing. Patients going through emotional abuse may be withdrawn, agitated, and have difficulty communicating.

Financial Abuse

A 2014 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that nearly 60 percent of all financial abuse crimes in nursing homes are perpetrated by family members, with friends and home-care aides accounting for  16.9 percent and 14.9 percent of the crimes respectively.

Financial abuse may present itself in the following ways:

  • A rapid and unexplained change of the patient’s bank account
  • Inclusion of a caregiver in the patient’s bank card
  • A change of legal documentation without the patient’s consent
  • Provision of unnecessary services
  • Forgery of the patient’s signature on checks and other documents
  • Large bank withdrawals and transfers to different accounts
  • Uncontrolled use of the patient’s ATM cards


According to a recent study by the National Center on Elderly Abuse (NCEA), 95 percent of nursing home residents have either been neglected or seen other residents ignored. This shocking statistic from the NCEA shows the growing concern over the refusal to provide care to patients in nursing homes.

Neglect may include failure to provide clean water, clothing, medicine, and other essentials required for personal comfort. Some of the common signs of neglect include malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, dirty clothes, and hazards such as faulty wiring and inadequate heating.

Healthcare Abuse

Healthcare abuse may involve giving a patient unnecessary referrals and prescriptions, charging for unperformed procedures, or overcharging the patient for healthcare services.

How to Deal with Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you should contact the Adult Protective Services department in your state or visit the National Council on Aging website for more information. Better yet, contact a nursing home abuse attorney immediately, such as the excellent lawyers at Mahoney & Mahoney, LLC. Your lawyer will help you file a lawsuit against the nursing home and get justice for your loved one.


According to The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, only one in fourteen cases of elder abuse is reported to the authorities. Medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease prevent an accurate recollection of events leading to lack of evidence to support abuse allegations.

For this reason, you should always look out for telltale signs of abuse in your loved one. More importantly, if you suspect that your loved one is being abused in any way, you should contact a nursing home abuse attorney immediately.