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Jonathan Rosenfeld

June 23, 2023

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Elder abuse is a silent epidemic that often goes unnoticed, unreported, and unaddressed. Nursing home abuse statistics paint a grim picture, revealing the extent of harm inflicted upon our most vulnerable citizens.

Was a family member a victim of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse in a nursing home?

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC provide legal assistance for abuse or neglect victims.

Contact a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer at (888) 424-5757 or use the online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

In nursing homes nationwide, residents are subjected to various forms of abuse, often perpetrated by those entrusted with their care.

Whether it’s a family member exploiting their relative’s trust or a caregiver neglecting their duties, elder abuse cases are alarmingly common.

Most elder abuse occurs within the confines of these care facilities, making it a pressing issue that demands our attention.

Introduction to Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a pervasive and deeply troubling issue that affects countless elderly individuals across the nation.

This form of maltreatment, which can take various forms, such as physical, emotional, and financial abuse, is often perpetrated by those entrusted with the care and well-being of older people.

The prevalence of such abuse is alarmingly high, and understanding and addressing this issue cannot be overstated.

Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse

The prevalence of nursing home abuse is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the elderly population.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one in six people aged 60 years and older have experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.

However, this figure is likely an underestimation, as only one in 24 cases of elder abuse is typically reported, underscoring the silent nature of this crisis.

Understanding the Importance of Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Nursing home abuse statistics serve as a critical tool in shedding light on the magnitude and nature of this issue.

They provide quantifiable evidence of the extent of the problem, helping to raise awareness, inform policy and practice, and guide the development of preventative measures.

These statistics also highlight the urgent need for concerted action to protect the rights and dignity of older adults.

Types and Effects of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse can manifest in various forms with unique characteristics and implications.

Understanding these types of abuse and their effects is crucial in identifying, preventing, and addressing this issue.

Most Common Types of Abuse

The most common types of nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical Abuse involves using force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. It includes hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning.
  • Sexual Abuse: This refers to non-consensual sexual contact with an older person. It can involve physical sex, but activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual abuse.
  • Emotional Abuse: This form of elder abuse involves the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. Psychological abuse includes verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment.
  • Verbal Abuse: This type of elder abuse involves using language to gain power and control over an older person. It includes yelling, name-calling, belittling, mocking, or using derogatory words or phrases.
  • Financial Exploitation involves the unauthorized or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. Examples include cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization, forging an older person’s signature, and misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions.
  • Neglect: This form of elder abuse in nursing homes is defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elderly person. Examples include failing to provide necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter, medication, hygiene, and medical care.

Research statistics reveal that sexual abuse is the least commonly reported form of elder abuse and neglect.


Elder Abuse Statistics Involving Nursing Home Residents

Elder abuse in nursing homes is a pervasive issue that often goes unnoticed and unreported.

The alarming nursing home statistics surrounding this abuse highlight the urgent need for increased awareness, prevention, and intervention strategies.

CMS Reports on Elder Abuse Involving Nursing Home Residents

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), many nursing home residents experience some form of abuse.

This abuse can be perpetrated by nursing home staff members, adult children, other family members, and even other residents.

The abuse can take many forms, including financial, emotional, and physical abuse and neglect.

Substance abuse among staff members and elderly residents can also contribute to the incidence of elder abuse.

National Council on Aging (NCOA) Elder Abuse Statistics in Nursing Homes Reports

The National Council on Aging reports that elder abuse victims often have a mental illness, making nursing home residents more vulnerable to abuse and less likely to report it.

The abuse and neglect they experience can lead to serious physical injuries and emotional harm, further exacerbating their mental health issues.

WISER and EFPN Nursing Home Abuse Statistics and Facts

According to the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) and the Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN), financial exploitation is a common form of elder abuse.

Their national nursing home statistics reveal financial abuse.

Their national neglect statistics reveal that mistreatment can involve the misuse or theft of a nursing home resident’s money or property by the following:

  • Nursing home staff members
  • Family members
  • Visitors
  • Employees
  • Other residents

Adult Protective Services Reports on Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

The National Adult Protective Services Association (APS) highlights the issue of elder neglect, which can be just as harmful as active abuse.

Neglect can involve failing to provide necessary care for a nursing home resident, leading to the following:

  • Physical harm
  • Emotional distress
  • Decreased quality of life

NCEA Research Statistics on Those Who Commit Elder Abuse

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) emphasize the importance of reporting suspected abuse and neglect.

Reporting can lead to the intervention of authorities, the initiation of investigations, and the implementation of protective measures to prevent further abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that elderly women are more likely to be victims of elder abuse or neglect than elderly men.

However, elderly women and men are at risk, and the abuse they experience can have serious, long-lasting effects.

Effects of Abuse on Victims

The effects of nursing home abuse on victims are profound and far-reaching.

They can result in significant physical injuries, psychological trauma, and even death.

Some of the harmful effects include:

  • Physical Injuries can range from minor injuries such as scratches and bruises to more serious injuries like fractures, burns, and head injuries. In severe cases, physical abuse can lead to permanent disability or death.
  • Psychological Trauma: Victims of abuse often experience psychological distress, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. They may also develop a fear of people or places that remind them of the abuse.
  • Financial Loss: Financial abuse can leave elderly individuals in a precarious financial situation, potentially leading to poverty, loss of housing, and other forms of financial instability.

Reporting and Underreporting of Nursing Home Abuse

The reporting and underreporting of nursing home abuse are critical aspects of this issue.

Staff, family members, visitors, and other nursing home residents play a significant role in detecting, preventing, and resolving abuse cases.

How Often Is Elder Abuse Reported?

According to the National Center on Law & Elder Rights, underreporting is a significant barrier to addressing nursing home abuse effectively.

Many victims are often unable or unwilling to report abuse due to fear of retaliation, lack of mental capacity, or the belief that their complaints will not be taken seriously.

This underreporting masks the true extent of the problem, making it challenging to develop effective interventions and policies to prevent elder abuse.

Why It’s Crucial to Report Abuse

The national nursing home abuse statistics identify cases of neglect and abuse reported to authorities who can help protect victims and prevent further mistreatment.

It allows for the intervention of authorities, the initiation of investigations, and the implementation of protective measures.

Reporting can also lead to the prosecution of perpetrators, serving as a deterrent to potential abusers.

Furthermore, it provides valuable data that can inform the development of strategies to combat nursing home abuse.

The National Ombudsman Reporting System

The National Ombudsman Reporting System is vital in addressing abuse of older adults involving nursing home residents by staff, family members, and others.

This system allows for reporting complaints about the quality of care or a resident’s life in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

The ombudsperson can investigate these complaints and advocate for the rights and well-being of the resident.

This system is essential in ensuring accountability of those abusing residents and promoting the quality of care in nursing homes.

Elder Justice and Self-Neglect

Elder justice [1] and self-neglect are significant aspects of the broader issue of elder abuse or neglect.

They highlight the need for a comprehensive approach that addresses abuse perpetrated by others and promotes older adults’ overall well-being and dignity.

Understanding Elder Justice

Elder justice refers to efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and safeguard older adults’ rights and dignity.

It involves various activities, including public education, policy development, research, and providing services and support to victims.

Elder justice ensures older adults’ well-being and quality of life.

The Issue of Elder Self-Neglect

Self-neglect among nursing home residents is a form of elder mistreatment involving behaviors or conditions in which an older adult fails to provide for their essential needs.

This form of nursing home neglect can include ignoring personal hygiene, health care, nutrition, or safety.

Self-neglect can lead to severe health and safety risks and is often associated with cognitive impairment, mental illness, and social isolation.

It is a complex issue that requires a sensitive and multidisciplinary approach.

Risk and Resilience Factors in Institutional Settings

Understanding the risk/resilience factors in institutional settings such as nursing homes can inform strategies to prevent and address elder abuse.

Risk Factors for Abuse in Skilled Nursing Homes

Several risks can increase the likelihood of abuse in skilled nursing facilities.

These factors related to the resident include the following:

  • Cognitive impairment, physical frailty, and behavioral problems
  • Factors related to the caregiver, such as stress, lack of training, and negative attitudes toward the resident
  • Factors related to the institutional environment, including:
    • High staff turnover
    • Low staff-to-resident ratios
    • A lack of policies and procedures to prevent and respond to abuse

Resilience Factors and Protective Measures

Resilience factors and protective measures can help to mitigate the risk of abuse in nursing homes.

These can include individual elements, including the following:

  • The resident’s physical health and social support network; caregiver factors, such as training and support
  • Institutional factors include a positive organizational culture, effective leadership, and abuse prevention and response protocol implementation.

Victims of nursing home abuse and their families have several legal options to seek justice and compensation.

Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit can allow victims to seek compensation for their harm due to the abuse endured, especially sexual and physical abuse.

This can include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

A lawsuit can also hold the perpetrator and the nursing home accountable, potentially preventing further abuse.

Potential Settlement Amounts

The amount of compensation that can be obtained through a lawsuit varies depending on the case’s specifics.

Factors that can influence the settlement amount include the severity of the abuse, the impact on the victim’s quality of life, the degree of negligence involved, and the defendant’s financial resources.

It is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand the potential value of a claim.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Stop the Abuse of Your Loved One

Are you the victim of nursing home abuse, or do you suspect a family member has been harmed in a nursing home?

Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can provide invaluable assistance in elder abuse cases.

Our legal team offers a free consultation and works on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case.

You can reach us at (888) 424-5757.

Holding Nursing Home Staff Members and Others Who Commit Abuse Accountable

We can help you understand your legal rights, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for you in court.

Our legal team can also conduct an independent investigation, gather evidence, and negotiate with the nursing home and their insurance company on your behalf.

Here are some ways our personal injury lawyers can help:

  • Investigating the Abuse or Neglect: The lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence of the abuse. This can include reviewing medical records, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: The lawyer can help residents or their family members file a lawsuit against the nursing facility and any other responsible parties. They can guide you through the legal process.
  • Negotiating a Settlement: Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who can work with the nursing home and their insurance company to reach a fair settlement. This can help you avoid a lengthy court process and ensure you receive compensation as quickly as possible.
  • Representing You in Court: Our attorneys are prepared to take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. They will present your case, argue on your behalf, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
  • Securing Compensation: Our attorneys will fight to secure compensation for the harm you or your loved one has suffered. This can include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

In the face of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial to remember that you are not alone.

Our personal injury attorneys are here to support you every step of the way.

We understand the emotional and physical toll that such abuse can take, and we are committed to holding those responsible accountable.

Together, we can fight against elder abuse and work towards a safer, more respectful environment for our loved ones in nursing homes.

Resources: [1] Elder justice

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