Is nursing home abuse a widespread problem?

Most studies of the type of abuse that occurs in nursing home focus on the larger problem of elder abuse. But various studies indicate that, yes, abuse of the elderly in and outside of nursing homes is a widespread problem.

In a recent report, the Institute of Medicine said one in 10 older adults in the United States experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control quotes an older study that estimates that between 1 and 2 million residents of the United States age 65 or older have been abused, neglected or exploited by persons on whom they depended for care or protection.

A research brief from the National Center on Elder Abuse(NCEA) says that in a survey of 2,000 nursing home residents,44 percent said they had been abused and 95 percent said they had been neglected or seen a fellow resident neglected. Another study found that more than 50 percent of the nursing home staff members surveyed admitted mistreating an elderly patient within a year of the study.

The NCEA brief also says more than 40 percent of people over the age of 65 will enter a nursing home before they die.

If you know of someone who is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you are not alone and there is help available. Please contact Hardison & Cochran for advice about your situation.