Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Mar 31, 2023 - Nursing Home Neglect by

When a person nears the end of their life, they should be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, for some elderly residents of nursing homes, their golden years are a time of abuse. When this occurs, the abused person and their family are justifiably outraged, and the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help bring justice to the perpetrators. 

Before we take a look at the numbers for the prevalence of nursing home abuse, it is important to understand exactly what defines it. 

Nursing Home Abuse Defined

Alabama Code §38-9-7 states that “(i)t shall be unlawful for any person to abuse, neglect, exploit, or emotionally abuse any protected person. For purposes of this section, residence in a nursing home… shall be prima facie evidence that a person is a protected person.” 

Abuse can take many forms, and some of the most common are:

  • Physical Assaults: This can include tying down a resident or kicking them
  • Sexual Assaults: Rape is an example of a sexual assault 
  • Denial of Needs: This can include denial of food, water, or basic sanitary care
  • Verbal Assaults: An example is threatening a resident or mocking them
  • Financial Abuse: This can include stealing a resident’s money or jewelry

Who Commits Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse can be inflicted by a number of different persons. Some of the most common are employees of the nursing home, such as nurses or other caregivers. However, abuse can also come from other residents, nursing home affiliates, and even family members of the abused. The nursing home has a duty to protect its residents from abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is. And when they don’t, they should be held accountable. An attorney from Cross & Smith, LLC, can provide the compassionate care and legal support a family needs during such a time.  

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the following are risk factors for perpetrators of elder abuse:

  • Substance Misuse
  • Mental health problems
  • Chronic medical conditions and poor physical health
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Has a negative attitude towards the older adult
  • Experienced early childhood abuse

The report further states that the offender often has the following characteristics:

  • 62% of perpetrators are men
  • 77% of perpetrators are Caucasian
  • 44% of perpetrators received a high school diploma while 33% did not

Who Is Most At Risk of Nursing Home Abuse?

While any resident of a nursing home is a potential candidate for abuse, there are some factors that seem to increase the odds of abuse occurring. First, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), women are more likely to be victims of nursing home abuse. Also, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 50% of elderly persons with cognitive impairments experience some type of abuse. This may be because they are less likely to identify the abuse for what it is, or they may fear losing their caretaker if they ask for help. The same report from the NCEA also states that the following are risk factors for becoming a victim of elder abuse:

  • Financial dependence on another
  • Lower socio-economic status
  • Limited social support
  • High levels of stress and poor coping mechanisms
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor physical health
  • Prior exposure to trauma
  • A poor relationship between the victim and the perpetrator

Nursing Home Abuse By The Numbers

According to the NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org, the following statistics apply to nursing home abuse:

  • More than two million cases of elder abuse are reported every year
  • Approximately 1 out of every 10 elderly persons will experience some form of elder abuse
  • Between 1999-2001, almost ⅓ of all nursing home facilities were cited for violations of federal standards that could cause harm, or that did harm elderly residents of those facilities
  • More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse
  • Nearly half of all nursing home attendants have admitted to abusing or neglecting their elderly patients

Additional statistics from nursinghomeabuse.org further states that in the year 2020, over 15,000 complaints were filed for abuse and neglect. It also states that according to a 2018 National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) report, the complaints were broken down as:

  • Related to Physical Abuse- 29%
  • Related to Psychological Abuse- 21%
  • Related to Gross Neglect- 14%
  • Related to Sexual Abuse- 7%
  • Related to Financial Exploitation- 7%
  • Resident-on-Resident Abuse- 22%

These numbers are staggering and highlight the reality that many of our most vulnerable citizens are subjected to abuse in the place where they should be best protected. Even more disturbing is the fact that many believe many cases of nursing home abuse are not reported. Victims could be threatened or fear repercussions for speaking out, or the perpetrator could hide the evidence of the abuse. 

If your loved one has been abused while a resident in a nursing home, contact the lawyers at Cross & Smith, LLC. We understand how upsetting this abuse is and will fight for your loved one. 

Prevention of Nursing Home Abuse 

In order to prevent the abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, the first step you should take is to familiarize yourself with what constitutes abuse and how it commonly occurs. Then, make sure you look carefully at any facility you are considering for your loved one. Ask around and see what kind of reputation they have. Once your loved one is placed in the nursing home, visit them often and at different times. Get to know your loved one’s primary caregivers, and make sure your loved one knows they are able to come to you with any issue. Stay vigilant when you visit with them, and be sure to notice any changes in their behavior, mood, or appearance. 

Speak With A Nursing Home Abuse Attorney at Cross & Smith, LLC

If you have concerns regarding the care your loved one has received at a nursing home, contact our firm to speak with an experienced attorney. We may be reached by calling 877-791-0618 or via our contact page.

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