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Katter Law Firm NYC Personal Injury Blog

Friday, January 18, 2019

Types of Abuse Against Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Nursing homes have long been used as a helpful means of care for elderly relatives. And while they still seem to be convenient, more and more now it seems as though that convenience comes at a cost. There have been numerous newsworthy scandals involving abuse in nursing homes. Approximately 10 percent of elderly in the United States have reported that they suffered some type of abuse or neglect in the nursing home in 2017. It is alarming to think how high that number – not just those reported – may actually be.

There are five different types of nursing home abuse or neglect. The five categories are:

  1. Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is where an elderly resident is subjected to any type of bodily harm. It is uncommon for physical abuse to ever rise to the occurrence of a fight. It is much likelier to be an employee’s rough handling and pushing of an elderly resident while taking care of some of their daily activities. This may include things such as changing clothing, bathing them, etc. This abuse is really bad because most elderly are unable to defend themselves or fight back – it’s an unfair match so to speak. Additionally, due to the fragility of their bones, the elderly are much more susceptible to injury than younger adults.
  2. Emotional Abuse. While invisible, emotional abuse can have just as severe if not more of an effect on the elderly than physical abuse. It can have a really negative effect on their outlook and quality of life. Emotional abuse can be something as simple as complaining that an elderly person is a burden to taunting them about impending death. Just because they are older does not mean that they no longer have feelings.
  3. Financial Abuse. Unfortunately, financial abuse is often most likely to occur against the elderly. This happens due to their disconnect from general information such as the price of different things. Financial abuse can occur at the level of the caretaker, who may even take advantage of their memory loss by stealing their things, or by the facility itself, which may decide to overcharge for things.
  4. Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse, a form of physical abuse, is also really horrible because of the elderly’s inability to defend themselves. This makes them an easy target. Luckily, sexual abuse against the elderly is not as common as some of the other forms of abuse, though one instance alone is one too many.
  5. Neglect. Despite their ability to be easily prevented, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 10 nursing home residents has a pressure sore at all times due to negligence. Other common results of neglect include clots, skin irritation, and infections.

What Can You Do?

One of the best ways to combat all of the aforementioned types of abuse is by conducting background checks for all employees. Background checks look at one’s criminal history, psychiatric health and history, training history, and similar experience with the elderly. By conducting these pre-employment background checks, you can protect your clients and subsequently your business.


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