Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home

The latest data from the CDC indicates that there are almost 2 million elderly residents in US nursing homes. These individuals, 65 and older, do not always receive the care they deserve! They are vulnerable to neglect and/or abuse.

The two main categories of elder abuse in nursing homes are physical abuse and emotional abuse.

Physical abuse. Often the easiest to recognize, physical abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility is described as an intentional infliction of harm to a resident. This includes many obvious behaviors, such as hitting, slapping, kicking, punching and using excessive restraints. Another example that is considered physical abuse is the withholding or incorrect administration of prescription or prohibited medications respectively.

Emotional abuse. While the signs may not be as obvious, emotional elder abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. If a staff member at the nursing home deliberately causes fear, anxiety, anguish or other negative mental states, this could constitute abuse. This can occur overtly with words or, in the alternative, by ignoring the needs and/or requests of the residents. If these behaviors cause an elder resident unnecessary and unreasonable emotional pain, then it might be classified as abuse.

There are several other forms of elder abuse in nursing homes; and the best defense is to watch closely, ask questions and record any suspicious occurrences. So be aware of the warning signs, and contact our office with any concerns you may have about this serious issue.

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