Nursing Home Abuse

Every year, estimates show that as many as five million elderly people in this country will suffer some form of abuse at the hands of their caretakers. This is a startling statistic, and all forms of nursing home abuse are abhorrent. At Siegel Law, our nursing home abuse lawyers in California want to discuss how this type of abuse occurs, the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse, and what you can do if you discover that your loved one has been abused.

Nursing Home Abuse Resources

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is typically defined as a form of elder abuse that occurs to those residing inside nursing homes or other types of long-term care facilities. This type of abuse happens in a variety of ways and can include physical and emotional injuries, financial exploitation, sexual assault, neglect, and more. According to data available from the National Council on Aging, approximately 10% of those over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in the United States, with much of this abuse occurring inside of nursing homes.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

There are various factors that are attributed to the causes of nursing home abuse. While there is absolutely no excuse for any person to abuse anyone else, some of the most common factors of this type of abuse include:

  • Nursing home worker burnout
  • The greed of nursing homes or nursing home staff members
  • A lack of training or supervision in a nursing home
  • Understaffing in a nursing home
  • Corporate decisions designed to maximize profit while harming resident care

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse can typically be broken down into a few different categories. Some of the types of abuse we will discuss here overlap. For example, a nursing home resident can sustain both physical injuries as well as emotional and psychological harm as a result of abuse.

Physical Nursing Home Abuse

Physical abuse inside of a nursing home can occur in various ways and often results in severe injuries. This type of abuse can include:

  • Punching
  • Shoving
  • Burning
  • Slapping
  • Using restraints
  • Using unnecessary roughness
  • …and more

Physical abuse can lead to cuts, bruising, broken bones, burn injuries, internal organ damage, and more.

Emotional Nursing Home Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse inside of a nursing home can be both verbal and non-verbal. This type of abuse occurs when another resident or staff member intentionally harms the self-esteem or mental well being of a resident. This can include isolating them from their family, manipulating their decisions, calling them names, insulting their intelligence, and more.

Emotional and psychological abuse in a nursing home is also likely to occur if physical abuse has occurred.

Sexual Nursing Home Abuse

Residents inside of a nursing home are susceptible to sexual abuse by staff members and other residents. This type of abuse can be incredibly traumatic for nursing home residents and includes any non-consensual sexual acts.

Financial Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home residents often need to rely on staff members and in the nursing home to manage their finances. Unfortunately, this leaves nursing home residents vulnerable to theft of their assets as well as their identity. Anytime nursing home staff members or the nursing home misuses the assets of a nursing home resident, this is considered financial abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs

Family members and friends of those inside nursing homes need to be on the lookout for the various signs and symptoms that abuse has occurred.

Physical Signs

Some common physical indicators of nursing home abuse could include the following:

  • Repeated falls they go unexplained
  • Sores or strange marks around genitals, buttocks, or breasts
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or broken bones
  • Bedsores they do not heal or that reoccur frequently

Emotional Signs

Some of the most common indicators of abuse are not going to be physical marks, but rather the emotional well being of a resident. Some signs and symptoms that loved ones need to be aware of include the following:

  • Showing fear or anxiety around particular staff members or other residents
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in mood
  • Sudden or new onset of depression
  • Unexplained signs of fear or anxiety

Other Signs

Some other common signs and symptoms that abuse may be occurring include the following:

  • Frequent illnesses or infections
  • Loss of finances
  • Signs of malnourishment or dehydration
  • Poor hygiene or uncleaned rooms
  • Untreated wounds

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Often, nursing home residents can suffer harm that may not be directly related to physical, emotional, or financial abuse. Nursing home residents may also suffer from staff members neglecting their basic needs. This can include a failure to properly provide food or water, a failure to treat medical conditions, a failure to give proper medications, etc.

Nursing Home Abuse Laws

It is important to understand that California takes nursing home abuse very seriously and will investigate these cases with the intention of holding abusers accountable for their actions. The California Department of Justice has a bureau composed of three programs to hold abusers accountable. This includes a violent crimes unit, a facilities enforcement team, as well as a program called Operation Guardians.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one has been abused inside of a long term care facility, you should make your report to the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, the licensing agency (for nursing homes, Licensing and Certification Program of the California Department of Public Health). A report should also be made to local law enforcement officials and the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. It is important to note that the reporting person is protected from both criminal and civil liability.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you suspect that your loved one has been abused inside of a nursing home, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Siegel Law, our qualified and experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Anaheim will investigate your claim and work to obtain justice and compensation for your loved one. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by calling (562) 454-0353.


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If your elderly loved one is being abused or mistreated, learn how our attorney can help you. You can reach us by calling (562) 372-6904 or using the form below.

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