Nursing Home Abuse, Types and Signs that Need to Know

Abuse in nursing homes is a sad reality that affects senior citizens in our communities. We anticipate that staff members would treat our elderly family members with respect and dignity when we place them in a nursing home. That’s regrettably not always the case. People who have experienced elder abuse are twice as likely to pass away before their time as people who have not. Elder abuse in nursing homes, often known as nursing home abuse, can result in fatalities as well as severe physical and emotional trauma.

Therefore, it’s essential to comprehend what abuse in nursing homes is, how it differs from other types of abuse, how to spot it, and how to stop it.

Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes

Various forms of elder abuse, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation, can occur in nursing homes.

Physical Abuse

Anything that deprives residents of their basic necessities for existence and dignity, such as food, warmth, shelter, and a sanitary environment, constitutes physical neglect. When a resident in a nursing home has physical hurt, discomfort, or impairment as a result of neglect or abuse, it is considered physical abuse.

Staff personnel at nursing homes are only permitted to apply restraints when necessary and for a brief period of time. Long-term use of restraints on patients can result in bone and muscle loss, muscular problems, and other severe damage. The main abusers at nursing homes are other residents, visiting family members, and nursing home staff. Nursing home staff frequently resorts to physical violence as a form of retaliation against physically hostile patients who frequently act out as a result of dementia and other diseases that cause mental deterioration.

Emotional Abuse

Any verbal or non-physical abuse is typically referred to as emotional abuse. Depriving a patient of their dignity, such as by leaving them in dirty clothes or forbidding them from making daily decisions, is another form of emotional abuse. The most typical form of elder abuse is emotional abuse. Nearly one-third of all nursing home staff members have acknowledged victimizing a patient emotionally.


Neglect is when a carer neglects to give their charge food, shelter, medical attention, or safety. In contrast to abuse, neglect typically refers to an accidental act. A nursing home resident wandering off the property and passing away from hypothermia while stranded outside is an example of maltreatment. Another illustration is when a nursing home worker neglects to adjust a resident’s posture in bed, resulting in the resident getting bedsores.

Sexual Abuse

Any non-consensual sexual contact constitutes sexual abuse. Sadly, this kind of maltreatment is a common type of elder abuse. Bruises near the breasts or genitalia and unexplained sexually transmitted infections are typical indicators of sexual abuse.

Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation is the unlawful taking, misappropriation, or concealing of money or other assets. Criminals are aware that older persons are particularly vulnerable to financial fraud, especially those with dementia or cognitive impairment.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Even though it might be challenging to spot indicators of abuse in nursing homes, there are some specific red flags you can look out for when you visit an elderly loved one. Abuse in nursing homes may show up as:

Frequent Slip and Falls

Nursing home staff must keep an eye on fragile residents who are at danger of slipping because elderly people’s slips and falls can swiftly result in death. Particularly at danger are people who have cognitive issues or physical limitations. You might have noticed that your loved one has been falling down a lot lately. Frequent falls could be an indication of elder abuse or neglect.


Water is essential for our survival. Through urination, sweating, and bowel movements, water eliminates biological wastes. These procedures preserve tissues, lubricate joints, and maintain a constant body temperature. When the body doesn’t function properly due to a lack of water, dehydration occurs.

Elderly residents in many nursing facilities frequently experience dehydration, which is a major indicator of neglect. The provision of ample water to residents in nursing homes is a need. An elderly person who is dehydrated might not have a strong thirst drive and might not exhibit any overt signs of dehydration. Elderly people who are chronically dehydrated can have seizures, brain edema, kidney failure, and even comas.


In nursing homes, fractures and bruises are typical indicators of physical abuse. Your loved one shouldn’t experience either of these problems if a nursing home is providing them with the best care possible.

Falls frequently result in fractures and are especially risky for elderly adults. A hip break from a fall could cause the victim to lose consciousness very rapidly. All required measures should be taken by the nursing staff to guard against falls among older patients. As part of precautions, it should be made sure that residents utilize wheelchairs, walkers, or canes and receive help getting in and out of bed.


Falls, bumps, and more serious injuries can cause bruises. Because their skin tissue is thinner and more delicate, older adults tend to bruise more frequently than younger people. Additionally, some elderly adults who use blood thinners may experience more bruising incidents. It’s important to pay close attention to any bruises that are visible on your elderly loved one, especially if they’re recurring or if they appear on the wrists or ankles, which may indicate misuse of restraints. Although bruises can occur in older adults without any accompanying neglect, they can also be a sign of abuse.

Inappropriate Medicine

Elder abuse may have occurred if your elderly loved one didn’t get the medication they required or received the wrong drug. It demonstrates, at the very least, that the nursing home’s nursing staff was improperly trained.

Giving residents drugs they don’t need just to sedate them when it’s not medically necessary is a frequent kind of nursing home abuse. Changes in behavior, unexpected weight gain or loss, disorientation, memory loss, tiredness, and changes in behavior are all indications that your loved one is taking the wrong prescription.

Withdrawn Behavior

Your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse if you’ve noticed them withdrawing from past interests or if they suddenly look unhappy. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as other forms of abuse, can all manifest as withdrawal in behavior. Of course, withdrawal is not always a symptom of misuse because it could simply be a sign of advancing dementia. It can occasionally be a warning sign, so you shouldn’t disregard it and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. For more details visit

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