Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is much more widespread in American nursing homes than many people realize, or would like to admit. There are four types of nursing home abuse, in particular, that causes harm to elderly nursing home patients every single year: 

1. Physical Abuse

The most notorious form of abuse that happens behind the scenes at nursing homes, physical abuse can take on many forms. From unexplained injuries to outright assault, the variety of physical abuse that can happen behind a nursing home’s walls must be taken deadly seriously. After all, ongoing abuse of the elderly has a much higher risk of leading to life-long injuries (and even death). To keep your loved one safe, you’ll need to watch out for any and all signs of physical abuse happening at their nursing home. Sexual abuse falls into the physical abuse category as well and is more widespread than many people realize. By watching out for their well-being and safety, you’ll be protecting other nursing home patients by extension. 

To handle physical abuse, you’ll need to confront the nursing home’s director immediately. Asking your loved one about the abuse they’re suffering beforehand can be useful. The more they trust you to help them, the more straightforward they are likely to be about the abuse they’re suffering. If you need extra assistance in dealing with abuse, the NHLC and local authorities can step in to help you navigate the situation. The more time and effort you put into connecting with your loved one, and the more you watch out for them, the less likely they’ll be to quietly suffer from abuse happening behind the scenes. 

2. Financial Abuse

Tragically, many elderly patients in nursing homes have suffered from some form of financial abuse. Like physical abuse, financial abuse can take on a variety of different forms. Most commonly, dubious nursing home financial heads will try to double bill, or secretly bill, patients to filter extra money out of them. Patients who do not have family members or friends watching over them, especially those who have psychological impairments like dementia, are at a more elevated level of risk for financial abuse. Even mostly-healthy patients can become a victim of financial abuse practices, however, as individual staff members may steal from them, or pressure them into giving them exuberant, valuable gifts. 

Because many nursing home patients are on extremely-limited incomes, financial abuse is incredibly devastating for their well-being. If you suspect financial abuse is happening at your loved one’s nursing home, you’ll need to bring the receipts and confront the home directly. Having an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer by your side during this step is highly recommended, as they will know the ins and outs of what constitutes financial abuse. This assured hand will help you keep any financial abusers accountable for their actions

3. Psychological Abuse

Psychological and emotional abuse is often much more difficult to spot than physical and financial abuse. Due to this, you’ll need to be extra dedicated to cultivating a trusting relationship with your elderly loved one to help prevent them from suffering at the hands of a psychologically abusive staff member. Whether the patient is dealing with bullying, a lack of emotional care, or outright aggressive emotional abuse, they deserve to get help as quickly as possible. 

There’s a need for strong communal care in nursing homes to combat the potential of emotional and psychological abuse. The more connected a community is, the more likely patients will be to stand up for one another, after all. However, it’s ultimately the responsibility of the nursing home’s director, and patient’s family members, to be extra vigilant in watching out for signs of emotional and psychological abuse. 

4. Neglect

Many forms of abuse stem from a lack of action, rather than a direct, aggressive action. Neglect happens at many nursing homes due to poor management, or due to nursing home directors who are looking to save money at the expense of their patients’ health and well-being. When living spaces are not taken care of, when proper medical care is not being given, and when visitation is not being provided reasonably, neglect is happening behind the scenes at that nursing home.

Calling out neglectful behavior and management practices ASAP is key. The sooner a problem is addressed and corrected, the sooner the home will become a safe and secure environment once again. If neglectful behavior becomes widespread at a nursing home, lawyers and local authorities will need to step in to correct the problems.