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Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes: Here’s What You Need to Know

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We turn to nursing homes specifically to provide the care and supervision that our aging loved ones require to live their fullest lives. If your relative has, instead, been harmed by nursing home abuse, it is a considerable blow that can leave you feeling at a loss for where to turn for help. Dedicated Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorneys understand the gravity of your situation and have the experience, legal skill, and compassion to help you and your aging relative.

Classifying Nursing Home Abuse

The dividing line between nursing home negligence, which is also exceptionally harmful, and nursing home abuse is the intent involved. If your loved one is harmed by nursing home abuse, facing the fact that he or she was harmed intentionally can be one of the most difficult aspects of the already challenging situation. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse comes in far too many damaging forms.

Emotional Abuse

When you think of nursing home abuse, you may think of physical injuries, but emotional abuse can be just as harmful while also being more difficult to detect. Consider all the following forms of emotional abuse:

  • Verbally harassing, ridiculing, or tormenting your loved one
  • Denying your loved one the social interaction necessary for him or her to thrive
  • Sequestering your loved one away – alone in his or her own room
  • Not providing your loved one with the assistance necessary to get out of bed and more fully engage

Emotional abuse isn’t accompanied by obvious physical signs of harm, and emotional abusers are careful to ensure that they aren’t caught in the act of being emotionally abusive, which makes being hyper-alert to the common signs of emotional abuse critical, including:

  • A noticeable change or shift in appearance and/or personality (such as seeming off in some way)
  • An increase in anxiety
  • A newly developed fearfulness (especially if it is focused on one or more specific staff members)
  • A newly developed tendency to self-isolate
  • Surprising weight loss that is not based on a physical condition

Emotional nursing home abuse can hide in plain sight until overt signs appear, which can be slow to present and, therefore, more difficult to pick up on. Being sensitive to emotional shifts is the best way to help protect your aging relative, and if you notice a warning sign, don’t wait to act.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is generally easier to detect than emotional abuse, but it also tends to be more immediately life-threatening. The residents of nursing homes are especially vulnerable to the risks associated with physical injuries, and physical nursing home abuse encompasses physical harm that has been inflicted purposefully (or physical harm that the nursing home didn’t care enough about to intervene against and prevent). Some of the telltale signs of physical abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Serious injuries, such as burns, deep cuts, or broken bones that cannot be reasonably explained
  • Serious pain that can’t be reasonably explained
  • Unexplained abrasions, sores, and/or bruises
  • The sudden onset of serious health concerns that can’t be explained by an underlying illness

Abusers – in nursing homes and elsewhere – will often go to considerable pains to hide the overt signs of their abuse, which makes trusting your gut and being on the lookout for anything that worries you paramount. Discussing your concerns with a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney early on is in your loved one’s best interests. Nursing home abuse should also be reported to Adult Protective Services.

Nursing Home Negligence

Although nursing home negligence lacks the element of intent necessary for nursing home abuse, it can be just as harmful, which makes knowing the warning signs important, including:

  • Failure to provide your loved one with adequate nutrition and/or hydration
  • Failure to administer your loved one with the proper medications in the proper dosages and according to the proper schedule, which can have dangerous physical effects
  • Failure to adequately assist your loved one with his or her needs related to movement and repositioning, which is closely associated with dangerous bedsores
  • Failure to protect your loved one from dangerous tripping hazards
  • Failure to attend to your loved one’s personal hygiene needs

Reach out to an Experienced Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If your loved one has been harmed by nursing home abuse, the accomplished Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorneys at Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, LLP, take great pride in helping clients like you protect their loved ones and resolve their cases favorably. We’re here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 570-799-8809 for more information today.


What separates nursing home abuse from nursing home negligence?

Nursing home negligence refers to a nursing home’s failure to provide the care necessary to keep your loved one healthy and safe, but nursing home abuse refers to the nursing home’s purposeful infliction of harm.

Can I afford a nursing home abuse attorney?

Your aging relative has been harmed by nursing home abuse, and not only is it emotionally devastating, but it can also be financially challenging, and addressing the matter of bringing a nursing home abuse case can be daunting. Most reputable nursing home abuse attorneys, however, work on contingency, which means that you don’t need to worry about paying until your claim has either been settled or has received a court award. At this time, your nursing home abuse attorney will receive a prearranged percentage of your settlement or award. If your case does not prevail, you’ll owe nothing.

How common is nursing home abuse?

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse happens, and it is likely more common than you realize. Nursing homes are generally for-profit endeavors, and this can make cutting financial corners tempting. With such money-saving efforts comes high turnover rates and greater susceptibility to dangerous abuse and neglect. Nursing homes are charged with providing a considerable degree of care, and when they fail to be hyper-vigilant in relation to rooting out abuse and neglect, their residents can suffer the consequences.

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.