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Common types of nursing home abuse

Many families here in Washington have an elderly loved one who is receiving care at a nursing home. When an elderly loved one is staying at a nursing home, it can be important for a family to keep a close watch for any signs that their loved one is possibly being subjected to mistreatment. Sadly, incidents do sometimes occur in which a nursing home doesn't prove to be the safe and caring environment it is supposed to be and a resident is subjected to conduct that is abusive.

There are indications that nursing home abuse is rather shockingly prevalent. For example, in a 2000 study in which 2,000 nursing home resident interviews were conducted, nursing home abuse was something that 44 percent of the interviewed residents said they had been subjected to.

Now, nursing home abuse is not some uniform thing in which all instances of it are more or less the same. Nursing home abuse can happen in all sorts of different circumstances and can come in many different types. Some of the more common types of abuse are:

  • Psychological abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Physical abuse.
  • Gross neglect.
  • Financial exploitation.
  • Resident to resident abuse.

According to federal government data from 2010, the three most commonly reported types of nursing home abuse are physical abuse, resident to resident abuse and psychological abuse, making up 29 percent, 22 percent and 21 percent of U.S. nursing home abuse complaints respectively. 

Finding out that an elderly loved one has been subjected to any form of nursing home abuse can be a truly heartbreaking experience for a family. Following such a discovery, a family may feel helpless. However, an important thing for families in such a situation to remember is that they may have legal actions they can take to protect their loved one from further abuse, to hold those responsible for the abuse occurring accountable for what happened and to seek compensation to put towards helping their loved one recover from the effects of the abuse.

Thus, if a family suspects that any type of nursing abuse has been committed against an elderly loved one, they may want to have a discussion about legal options with an elder law attorney.  

Source: National Center on Elder Abuse, "Abuse of Residents of Long Term Care Facilities," Accessed Jan. 8, 2015

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