When “Golden Years” are Plagued
by Abuse and Neglect
Many Elderly Americans
Rely Heavily on Nursing
There are approximately 1.4 million nursing
home residents in the United States. Most of
these residents are either elderly or have special
needs. Residents not only require a significant
amount of attention from nursing home staff
members, they are also more vulnerable to
abuse and neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse
Research about nursing home abuse is largely
outdated and conducted less frequently than it
should be. The Office of Inspector General in the
Department of Health and Human Services
estimates that over one-fourth of serious cases
of nursing home abuse goes unreported.
Nursing Home Staff
A nursing home’s staff has many different obligations to
residents. This includes:
• Regularly meeting the nutritional requirements of residents.
• Attending to hygiene needs of residents.
• Administering medications.
• Making sure residents don’t leave the premises without
• Keeping residents safe from violence and abuse.
• Treating residents with respect and dignity.
When Nursing Homes
Fall Short of Their Duty
When a nursing home fails to provide adequate
care to residents, they are acting negligently.
Negligence in a setting where people have
special needs often has disastrous results for
residents, including injury, malnutrition and
mental health issues. In the context of nursing
home care, negligence is often defined as
neglect and abuse. Let’s look at a few examples
of neglect and abuse in nursing homes…
Violent Abuse in
Residents might be victims of assault at the
hands of other residents or staff members. This
could include hitting, shoving or improperly
restraining a resident. Signs of physical abuse
• Fractured bones.
Sexual Abuse in
The incidence of sexual abuse in nursing homes is alarming. In an
in-depth report, CNN found that over 1,000 nursing homes in the
U.S. had been cited for mishandling suspected cases of sexual
abuse. Signs of sexual abuse among the elderly include:
• Broken pelvic bones
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Injuries around the genitals
• Accompanying signs of physical abuse
• Post-traumatic stress disorders
Emotional Abuse in
Residents might also experience abuse in the form
of shouting, insults or intimidation. This form of
abuse can be reflected in a resident’s physical or
psychological well-being. Signs include:
• Unwillingness to talk about staff
• Mood swings
• Low self-esteem.
Neglect of Nursing
Because most nursing home residents require a significant
amount of care, neglect is tantamount to abuse. For example,
a resident with diabetes requires regular monitoring of blood
sugar levels and administration of insulin. Failure to treat that
patient adequately causes a great deal of physical harm and
the potential for death. Signs of neglect include:
• Significant weight loss
• Malnutrition and dehydration
• Lack of personal hygiene
• Unexplained cuts or bruises
• Unsanitary living conditions.
Do You Suspect Nursing
If you believe that your loved one has been subject to
abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should speak up
immediately. Voice your concerns with the nursing home’s
staff and management. If you’d like to pursue legal action,
you should know that there are several options at your
disposal. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney as soon
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Our New York nursing home abuse attorneys
offer free consultations. The attorneys at our firm
have represented several clients across the
state to make sure they get the care and
compensation they deserve. Contact us today
by filling out our online contact form or calling us
at (516) 399-2364.