What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse? | Studinski Law, LLC
March 30, 2021

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Seniors who rely on others for their care and wellbeing are among the most vulnerable members of society. After making the decision to entrust the care of your loved one to a nursing home or assisted living facility, you trust those institutions will provide a certain standard of care. When nursing home staff members and managers violate this trust and mistreat those in their care, they must be held accountable for the harm they have caused.

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have extensive experience representing residents and their families in claims against nursing home facilities across Wisconsin. We understand the complex nature of these difficult cases and we are committed to helping your loved one achieve justice with dignity and compassion.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, some of the most common are listed below.

Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

While physical abuse is abhorrent at any age, seniors are at particular risk for severe injuries and even death following physical acts of violence or neglect. Unfortunately, older adults are injured at the hands of caretakers far too often. Nursing home residents suffer physical abuse through active or negligent behaviors such as:

  • Acts of violence: Pushing, shoving, punching, pinching, slapping, shaking, choking and burning are all examples of active abuse that some nursing home residents are forced to endure. These acts are intentional, and intended by the perpetrator to inflict pain and injury.
  • Misuse of restraints: Although the use of physical restraints is illegal under federal regulations except for medical reasons, such restraints are often still used and misused. Whether negligently used as a form of discipline, or as a matter of convenience for staff workers, misuse of restraints can lead to severe injuries. Additionally, medications are sometimes wrongfully used by staff members as a type of “chemical restraint” for nursing home residents, causing serious harm.
  • Physical neglect: Neglecting the needs of nursing home patients can be a type of physical abuse. Physical neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide sufficient necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothing, and essential medical care. Failing to maintain sanitary conditions for residents is also a common form of neglect.

Nursing home residents have rights, and as a friend or family member, you can help protect them. If you believe a senior is suffering abuse or neglect at the hands of his or her caretakers, contact our attorneys today.

Mental and Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define emotional or psychological abuse as verbal or non-verbal behaviors that cause older adults to feel distress, fear, mental pain, or anguish. These behaviors can lead to elderly patients feeling isolated, threatened, humiliated, or controlled.

Common examples of mental and emotional abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Threatening abuse
  • Demeaning comments
  • Shaming or humiliating
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Yelling
  • Mocking, insulting, and name calling
  • Taking away glasses, canes, walkers, or other necessary items
  • Ignoring requests for help
  • Preventing patients from participating in social activities
  • Dismissing patient concerns
  • Spouting ageist, racial, and ethnic slurs

Even under the best circumstances, the transition to a nursing home can be emotionally challenging for seniors and their families. However, if you are concerned about any aspect of a senior’s care, it is crucial to take the matter seriously. Failure to act may further jeopardize the health and safety of your loved one.

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents are vulnerable to sexual abuse. This involves any unwanted or forced sexual interaction of any kind with an elderly person, or with a person unable to consent. These attacks are not always apparent to family and friends. Cases of sexual assault can be devastating for victims, and can cause life-threatening physical, emotional, and mental trauma.

Targets of sexual assault in nursing homes are often victimized because they have limited mobility, impaired mental functioning, communication difficulties, and other medical conditions. These challenges enable perpetrators to take advantage of seniors who cannot protect themselves, and may be unable to communicate their attacks with others.

Common signs that sexual abuse may be occurring include:

  • Depression, withdrawal, or refusal to communicate
  • Presence of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Unusual fear or anxiety, especially in the presence of a particular staff member or other person
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • New and unexplained pain when sitting
  • Ripped, stained, or bloody underclothing

It is imperative to remain alert about the care of nursing home residents. If any of these signs are observed, speak out immediately.

Financial Abuse and Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial exploitation is one of the most commonly reported types of elder abuse. Financial abuse occurs in nursing homes when the money, property, or assets of an elderly person are taken by another person in an illegal or improper way. The means by which financial abuse and exploitation occur typically involve deception, intimidation, or coercion.

The most common types of financial abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Signature forgery
  • Exploitation of investments
  • Improper use of power of attorney
  • Coerced transfers of property or assets
  • Use of funds without permission or knowledge
  • Theft or embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Telemarketing or internet scams
  • Home repair or contractor scams
  • Deception or force to change wills, deeds, or power of attorney

Investigating financial exploitation in nursing home abuse cases can be difficult. It often requires the knowledge, skill, and resources of an experienced attorney. If you suspect your loved one is being taken advantage of, contact our nursing home abuse lawyers right away.

Call Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers In Wisconsin Today

At Studinski Law, LLC, our nursing home abuse lawyers have successfully pursued compensation for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Our founding attorney, Jason Studinski, is a recognized authority on nursing home abuse and neglect law. He is the author of the book, “How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Wisconsin Nursing Home,” and has represented numerous families in litigation against nursing homes and other care facilities.

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