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What Are the 7 Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes?

January 25, 2022

Nursing home abuse is alarmingly common. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that approximately 10% of nursing home residents experience some form of abuse each year. This is unacceptable, and there is simply no excuse for any nursing home resident being mistreated or left without the care he or she needs and deserves. 

Nursing home abuse generally falls within seven categories. Each category is equally serious, and elderly residents who fall victim to all forms of abuse can experience lasting physical, psychological, and financial consequences. The good news is that nursing home residents who fall victim to abuse have clear legal rights. 

If you or a loved one has been abused in a Louisville, KY or Jeffersonville, IN  nursing home, the nursing home abuse lawyers at the Karl Truman Law Office can help. We have a distinguished record of success helping seniors and their families recover the justice and compensation they deserve in these difficult cases.

7 Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes

The seven types of abuse in nursing homes are: 

1. Emotional Abuse

According to data from the NCEA, emotional abuse is by far the most common type of abuse in the nursing home setting. The NCEA defines emotional abuse as, “the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts including, but not limited to verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, and harassment.” There are unfortunately many common examples, including:

  • Yelling at nursing home residents when they make mistakes or can’t remember information
  • Making fun of residents who make mistakes, who cannot care for themselves, or who get confused
  • Threatening residents with physical harm or isolation from friends and family members
  • Falsely telling residents that their friends and loved ones don’t care about them or don’t want to see them
  • Withholding food, hydration, medications, or access to basic hygiene 

Nursing home residents who experience emotional abuse may become withdrawn, anxious, or depressed. While emotional abuse may not result in direct physical harm, it is nonetheless an extremely serious form of abuse that can have significant and long-term consequences. 

2. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves intentionally, recklessly, or negligently inflicting pain or bodily harm. This includes forms of physical contact such as hitting and pushing as well as causing residents to endure pressure sores and other injuries. The use of chemical or physical restraints is also classified as a form of physical nursing home abuse. 

3. Abandonment

Abandoning nursing home residents can lead to severe psychological harm. It can also lead to physical harm if residents are unable to care for themselves, if they fall as a result of being unattended, or if they are involved in other types of accidents. Abandonment can occur if a resident is left alone in his or her room for an extended period of time, or if a resident is left without a caretaker elsewhere inside or outside of the nursing home. 

4. Sexual Abuse

All forms of non-consensual sexual contact constitute sexual abuse. This is true whether the contact is perpetrated by force, threat, a resident’s incapacity, or other means. Unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate sexual communications, and showing residents sexually-explicit images or videos are forms of sexual abuse as well. As with many of the other forms of abuse discussed in this article, nursing homes can be held liable when their personnel perpetrates sexual assaults and when they fail to adequately protect residents against sexual abuse perpetrated by others. 

5. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can involve stealing a nursing home resident’s money or property, overcharging nursing home residents, coercing residents to sign checks or documents, using residents’ credit cards or online accounts, or any other means of acquiring or gaining access to a resident’s financial assets. Staff members may engage in improper practices on behalf of the nursing home, or they may commit financial abuse for their own personal benefit. 

6. Neglect

Neglecting nursing home residents’ needs is considered a form of abuse under Kentucky and Indiana law. Common examples of nursing home neglect include failing to provide adequate nutrition and hydration, failing to assist residents with their medications, failing to provide necessary assistance with hygiene and use of the restroom, and failing to reposition immobile residents in order to prevent bedsores. 

7. Self-Neglect

Causing nursing home residents to engage in self-neglect is also considered a form of abuse under Kentucky and Indiana law. As the NCEA explains, “[s]elf-neglect is a form of self-harm that may co-occur with, provoke, or be triggered by elder mistreatment.” Even though self-neglect involves nursing home residents causing harm to themselves, it still provides grounds for residents and their loved ones to take legal action. 

Call a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Free

If you suspect that your loved one may be a victim of abuse in a Louisville, KY or Jeffersonville, IN nursing home, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. 
To speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in confidence, call (502) 222-2222 or request a free consultation online today.