Nursing Home Abuse – What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is common in the United States. Older adults get hurt, are neglected, and even die in the same facilities where they should be receiving proper care.

According to the federal government, “nursing home abuse means the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinements, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.” Nursing home abuse involves harm or injury done to an older adult intended to cause pain, suffering, or impairment.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that nursing home abuse:

Increases the chances of death by 300%

Triples the chances of hospitalization

Leads to future medical problems and disabilities

Increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and Other psychological issues

Nursing home abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, and sexual. The NCOA states that nursing home abuse includes:

  • Physical abuse, which can be made apparent by bruises or unexplained falls
  • Sexual abuse, including any sexual activity without consent
  • Neglect, indicated by matted hair, dirty bedding, and so on
  • Emotional abuse, such as verbal threats and harassment
  • Financial exploitation, such as forged financial documents or missing personal belongings

How common is nursing
home abuse?

Financial nursing home abuse is a pervasive problem.S. A 2019 bipartisan Senate investigation, leading to reform efforts, found that poor resident care is “common” in about 5% of the nation’s care facilities.

According to the NCOA, approximately 5,000,000 elderly persons are abused every year.

2017 study based on evidence from 52 pieces of research estimated that 15.7% of people over 60 years old are subjected to abuse. On top of that, 96% of elder abuse cases go unreported.

In an Atlanta Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program study of 80 residents in 23 Georgia-based nursing homes, 44% of the respondents experienced abuse, while 48% experienced mistreatment. In addition, 38% percent of respondents witnessed fellow residents abused, while 44% had seen others being mistreated.

survey involving 577 nursing aides from 31 care facilities revealed that 36% of caregivers had witnessed some form of elder abuse within 12 months.

Overall, elder abuse affects hundreds of thousands of families annually. In 2013 alone, the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) noted approximately 10,000 care facility complaints related to elder abuse.

Recent Cases of Nursing Home Abuse

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse can take many forms, including:

Financial Abuse/Exploitation

Financial exploitation is the improper, unauthorized, or illegal use of an elder’s property, belongings, assets, money, or benefits.

Examples include:

  • Fraud
  • Forged financial documents
  • Missing property and belongings

According to the NCOA, elderly people are more likely to report financial exploitation than other forms of abuse. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), 5% of older adults suffer from financial abuse. The NCVC reported that 7.9% of complaints were related to financial exploitation. And according to NCEA, approximately 60% of cases involve family members.

What causes nursing
home abuse?

The causes of elder abuse depend on the quality of the care facility, its policies, staff members, and operation and management. Regardless, there tend to be some common contributing factors, such as:


Negligent Hiring

Inadequate training

Risk Factors in Nursing

Any person in a care facility may suffer from elder abuse. However, some residents are at a higher risk due to the following factors: