What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse? | Studinski Law, LLC
June 29, 2021

What Are the 7 Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home residents have the right to live in an environment free of neglect and abuse. However, this right is violated when residents of nursing homes face one or more forms of abuse at the hands of staff members or other residents.

Abuse is a broad term that encompasses a number of behaviors and actions. It can range from disregard and negligence to intentional violence, mistreatment, and disrespect. If your loved one is in a nursing home, it is important to understand the types of abuse that can occur.

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC protect the rights of nursing home residents throughout Wisconsin. We have earned a reputation for excellence in these difficult and complex cases. We will fight diligently to ensure your loved one receives the justice and quality of life he or she deserves. 

Below are the seven basic types of abuse that may occur in nursing homes.

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when a staff member or other resident intentionally causes bodily injury or trauma to a resident. All nursing home residents can be susceptible to physical abuse. However, those with cognitive disorders may be more vulnerable.

Examples of physical abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Pushing, shaking, shoving, or grabbing
  • Punching, slapping, or kicking
  • Biting, pinching, or choking
  • Burning
  • Restraining or confining with straps, ties, or other restraints
  • Using an object to cause injury

2. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves the intentional act of violating a resident in an unwanted sexual way. This can occur through unwanted touching or groping, as well as through full intercourse or oral intercourse. Sexual abuse can cause physical signs such as lesions, scratches, or bruises around the genitals. It can also result in the resident contracting a communicable disease.

Sexual abuse does more than physically damage a resident; it causes psychological and emotional suffering as well. While sexual abuse can be perpetrated against a cognizant resident, it can also be committed against residents who are incapacitated and unable to knowingly give consent, and who are less able to notify anyone this is happening and to prevent future violations. Although sexual abuse can happen at the hands of staff members, it may also be committed by a fellow resident.

Signs of sexual abuse can include:

  • Unusual anxiety or fear, especially in the presence of specific staff members or other residents
  • Withdrawal, depression, or reluctance to communicate
  • Appearance of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • New and unexplained pain when sitting
  • Stained, torn, or bloody underclothing

3. Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse occurs when actions or words are expressed with the intent to cause fear, distress, or mental trauma to a resident. Emotional abuse can inflict long-term psychological devastation that can harm a resident’s self-esteem and ability to enjoy a high quality of life.

There are a number of ways in which emotional abuse can be committed, including:

  • Yelling
  • Insulting, mocking, and name-calling
  • Using ageist, racial, and ethnic slurs
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Shaming or humiliating
  • Demeaning comments
  • Dismissing residents’ concerns
  • Preventing residents from engaging in social activities
  • Ignoring requests for help
  • Threatening abuse
  • Taking away walkers, canes, glasses, or other necessary items

4. Neglect

Neglect can include either the intentional or unintentional failure to provide adequate care to nursing home residents. While abuse involves a deliberate act against a resident with the malicious intent to cause harm, neglect is usually the result of carelessness, oversight, and indifference.

Examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Failing to ensure the safety and security of residents
  • Not reporting illnesses or injuries to physicians, medical staff, or family members in a timely manner
  • Ignoring or dismissing residents’ complaints about conditions, staff, or other residents
  • Failing to properly clean residents’ rooms
  • Failing to provide residents with regular baths
  • Forgetting or improperly administering medications
  • Failing to provide adequate food and water
  • Leaving residents unattended for extended periods of time
  • Failing to comply with residents’ specific care needs

5. Abandonment

Nursing home abandonment is characterized by the extreme, ongoing neglect of a resident’s needs. Abandonment is more than just forgetting to give a resident his or her medications one day; it is an ongoing pattern of neglectful behaviors.

Some types of abandonment can include:

  • Ignoring residents’ calls or taking an extended time to respond
  • Failing to address hygiene issues, such as soiled sheets or clothing
  • Failing to provide proper nutrition to residents with special dietary needs or who need assistance eating
  • Not turning bed-bound residents as prescribed to prevent pressure sores
  • Not checking on residents regularly
  • Failing to provide necessary assistance for daily activities
  • Not giving medications on time or at all

6. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse in nursing homes refers to the intentional manipulation and exploitation of residents in order to gain financial control over them. Perpetrators of financial abuse will usually befriend a resident and gain his or her trust in order to obtain unauthorized and illegal use of the resident’s finances.

Financial abuse can involve:

  • Signature forgery
  • Using deception or force to change deeds, wills, or power of attorney
  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement or theft
  • Internet or telemarketing scams
  • Contractor or home repair scams
  • Use of funds without permission or knowledge
  • Improper use of power of attorney
  • Coerced transfers of assets or property
  • Exploitation of investments

7. Self-Neglect

Self-neglect occurs when a resident lives in a way that puts his or her safety, health, or well-being at risk. Vulnerable residents who neglect themselves are unable or unwilling to practice necessary self-care. A nursing home has a responsibility to notify family members or medical providers if a resident is putting his or her own safety and health at risk.

When residents threaten their own health and safety, it is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to identify problems and take proactive steps to ensure the residents are properly cared for. 

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney In Wisconsin Today

The experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have helped victims of nursing home neglect and abuse across Wisconsin. Our firm’s founder, Jason Studinski, authored the book, “How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Wisconsin Nursing Home.” He has represented many families in cases against nursing homes and other care facilities.

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If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect at a nursing home, call us now at (715) 343-2850 for a free case review. Studinski Law, LLC serves clients in Plover, Marshfield, and other areas throughout Wisconsin.

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