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What Are the Most Common Nursing Home Abuse Cases?

Posted on May 10, 2023

Nursing home abuse is an unimaginable crime that affects an estimated 1 in 10 nursing home residents in the United States, according to available research. Most families never think that abuse or mistreatment could happen to their elderly loved one. Unfortunately, our Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyers know how frequently these types of injury claims are filed throughout the country. Certain types of elder abuse cases are filed more than others.

Physical Abuse

Statistics from a 2018 National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) report found that in 2020, over 15,000 complaints regarding nursing home abuse were filed with ombudsman programs nationwide. A breakdown of these complaints found that the top type of abuse reported was physical (29 percent). Physical elder abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility refers to someone intentionally injuring a resident of the institution. Examples include:

  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Hitting
  • Pinching
  • Pushing
  • Burning
  • Biting
  • Restraining

Physical elder abuse could be perpetrated by a caretaker or another resident. Resident-on-resident abuse (physical and sexual) accounted for 22 percent of nursing home abuse complaints in 2020. Physical abuse of a senior citizen could result in serious and life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, dislocations, lacerations, bruising, infections and an overall decline in health.

Mental or Psychological Abuse

The second most common type of nursing home abuse case is mental or psychological elder abuse, also known as emotional abuse. The NCVC reported that 21 percent of nursing home abuse complaints filed in 2020 were for psychological abuse. This describes harm or injury to a victim’s mental or psychological well-being, such as from humiliation, isolation, verbal abuse or beratement, threats, intimidation, or withheld food or medical care. Psychological abuse can affect a victim’s mental health and result in disorders such as anxiety or depression.

Gross Neglect

Gross elder neglect is the third most common type of nursing home abuse case, responsible for 14 percent of complaints, according to the NCVC. Gross neglect refers to a nursing home falling woefully short of the required standards of care for its elderly residents. This may mean ignoring residents’ medical and health care needs, failing to provide nutritious food, forgetting to bathe residents, ignoring infections, failing to maintain a safe premises, or otherwise failing to meet residents’ basic needs. In many cases, staff members are aware of elder neglect but take no action to address the problem.

Sexual Abuse

Nursing home sexual abuse accounted for 7 percent of complaints to ombudsman programs in 2020. Elder sexual abuse refers to the crime of a nursing home staff member engaging in sexual activity with a resident, either consensual or nonconsensual. It can refer to forcible fondling, groping, penetration, rape, attempted rape and other sex crimes. Elder sexual abuse can cause great physical and psychological harm to a victim. In many cases, the targets of nursing home sexual abuse are vulnerable elderly residents, such as those with dementia.

Financial Abuse or Exploitation

Tied with nursing home sexual abuse at 7 percent of complaints is financial abuse or exploitation. Elder financial abuse means to take advantage of a nursing home resident for the perpetrator’s financial gain. This may be done through fraud or scams, as well as by manipulating a senior citizen who is in the care of the perpetrator. Signs of nursing home financial abuse include large or unusual withdrawals, strange banking activity, checks made out to cash, lavish gifts bestowed upon caregivers, missing valuables, and sudden changes to wills or other legal documents.

If you or a loved one is the victim of any type of nursing home abuse in Birmingham, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Drake Injury Lawyers. Our experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyers can help you understand your legal rights during a free case consultation.