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What Are the 7 Types of Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing Home Abuse is alarmingly common in the United States. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “at least one in 10 community-dwelling older adults experienced some form of abuse in the prior year.”

This is a sad, sobering fact that highlights a difficult reality for many nursing home and memory care facility residents across the country: at startling rates, they are mistreated, abused, and neglected by those who have been trusted to provide them with the care they so desperately need.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are committed to holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions. But to do so, it is critical that residents’ loved ones are able to identify signs of abuse and take the appropriate steps to bring responsible parties to justice.

To help, we are going to look at the seven types of nursing home abuse, including how to spot signs of each type of abuse.

1. Physical Abuse

When talking about nursing home abuse, physical abuse is one of the most harmful and frightening types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes. It can include everything from hitting and pushing to pinching and burning, along with using excessive physical or chemical restraints.

Signs to watch out for include bruising, lacerations, abrasions around the wrists or ankles—which can indicate that restraints have been used—and any other physical sign of injury. It’s also important to keep in mind that sudden behavioral and mood changes may also be a sign that some type of physical abuse is occurring, which is why you should never take these changes lightly.

2. Emotional & Psychological Abuse

While not as immediately obvious or painful as physical abuse, psychological abuse is far more prevalent than physical abuse, with one study reporting that 11.6% of nursing home residents experience some form of psychological abuse

This can have a significant impact on the well-being of nursing home residents, occurring when nursing home staff insult, berate, threaten, humiliate, or harass a nursing home resident. Over time, this abuse can cause elderly residents to withdraw, become depressed, and neglect self-care. 

3. Financial Abuse

Unfortunately, elders are often vulnerable to being taken advantage of financially, as well. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, “the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion.” That’s a staggering figure and it speaks to just how widespread this problem is. 

This is why it is critical for loved ones of nursing home and memory care facility residents to keep a close watch on their loved ones’ finances. Any sudden changes in the way they handle their money, any notices of unpaid bills, or any unexplained changes to their will should all be immediate signs that financial abuse may be occurring. 

4. Sexual Abuse

While less common than the types of abuse we have reviewed so far, sexual abuse of nursing home residents may be one of the horrific, traumatizing types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes. It can take the form of everything from unwanted touching or forced nudity to rape or taking explicit photographs of residents. 

Unfortunately, this is most common among elderly women with dementia, one of the most vulnerable groups of nursing home residents. It comes as no surprise that the signs of this type of abuse can be both physical and psychological, ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to post-traumatic stress disorder, which is why claims of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously and reported to the appropriate authorities immediately. 

5. Abandonment

Abandonment occurs when a resident is left without the care they need and require. This can happen if a resident is abandoned at a hospital or care facility without proper transfer procedures or when a resident’s care is terminated without proper notice.

Abandonment can be an extremely dangerous situation for elderly individuals who are unable to take care of themselves, resulting in injury, malnourishment, trauma, and more. 

6. Neglect

While abandonment is an extreme form of nursing home neglect, less severe types of neglect can also lead to painful and traumatic situations. Residents who are suffering from neglect can develop bed sores, suffer through dehydration and malnourishment, experience recurring illnesses or infections, and face unsanitary living conditions. 

Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure they can provide residents with the attention and care they need to stay healthy, which means hiring good people and hiring enough of them. When they don’t, they may be liable for the resulting damages, including pain and suffering, that occur. 

7. Self-Neglect

When nursing home residents are suffering through psychological or emotional problems, whether caused by some form of nursing home abuse or not, it can result in self-neglect. This occurs when a resident intentionally puts themselves in dangerous situations, threatens harm to themselves, or refuses to provide themselves with the care and nourishment they need to remain healthy. 

If this type of behavior surfaces, it should be addressed immediately. Even if it is not a sign of abuse, it should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. 

Contact a Madison Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for FREE

Regardless of the type of abuse a nursing home resident is experiencing, it’s important to understand that it’s not only unfair and unjust; it is illegal. Further, nursing home residents and their families may be able to recover compensation for the physical and psychological suffering they have endured, to say nothing of potential financial losses that have occurred as a result of the abuse.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers have successfully recovered compensation for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect across Wisconsin. If your loved one has suffered at the hands of a nursing home or memory care facility staff member or another resident, call us right away.

Our Results Speak for Themselves 

Contact Boller & Vaughan today online or at (608) 268-0268 for a FREE case review. We proudly serve clients throughout Wisconsin, including Madison and other nearby areas.