Finding the best possible nursing home to care for our loved ones in their twilight years is something millions of us do every single year. We want to make sure they are well looked after and go to great lengths to try and make the best choice. Sadly, this care is often lacking and despite everyone’s best efforts, the residents suffer terrible abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be looking after them. So what is considered nursing home abuse? Read on…

What Constitutes Abuse

If a resident in a nursing home should suffer any kind of injury, impairment or physical pain due to neglect or maltreatment, it is classed as physical nursing home abuse. Physical abuse is one of the most common to be found within a nursing home and, due to the age of the victims, the most dangerous. Long-lasting, sometimes life-changing, injuries or even death have been attributed in courts of law to nursing home abuse.

The stats don’t make pleasant reading. There are currently more than 3m Americans living in nursing homes and a third of these have reported being abused. A staggering 95% have said they have witnessed fellow residents being abused. Senior citizens who are physically abused are more than 300% more at risk of dying from their injuries.

Who are Main Abusers in Nursing Homes?


The caregivers at the nursing home are guilty of causing the most physical abuse. The vast majority is intentional but one of the most common forms of defense is caregivers claiming they are seriously understaffed or haven’t been trained properly. Even if the abuse was proven to be accidental the severity is exactly the same as it would be if committed intentionally. There is never a good reason for abusing somebody in your care – period!


Yes, family members have also been found guilty of inflicting abuse on residents while visiting them. This is a tricky situation for a caregiver to resolve as they should always put the needs and best interests of the resident as their top priority. Some may feel that it’s not their place to interfere but abuse is abuse and should be reported straight away.

Fellow Residents

Physical abuse by a fellow resident is a big problem in nursing homes right across the country. It’s a veritable melting pot of personalities, beliefs and opinions and for everyone to live harmoniously 24/7 simply isn’t feasible. The problem with this kind of abuse is that it is essentially bullying, and the victim will feel so threatened they will be scared to report it. This kind of abuse is usually discovered by accident, such as bruising etc, but finding the culprit is a whole different ball game. Dementia patients are particularly vulnerable as they will probably be unable to tell anyone where their injuries have come from, or blame somebody random from their past. Understaffing is a major problem in nursing homes so arranging for extra supervision of your loved one may not be a viable option. There is no easy solution to this problem and you may need to seek advice from a lawyer or other body before making your next move.