Reports from the National Center on Elderly Abuse (NCEA) reveal that some individuals may be at a higher risk of experiencing nursing home abuse than others. Serious physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse are some of the most common types of abuse residents suffer, and one in three nursing homes in the United States were cited for some form of abuse between the years of 1999 and 2001. In many cases, nursing home abuse results in serious injuries, emotional trauma, and even death.
According to the report, individual who are at the highest risk of becoming victims of nursing home abuse include:
- Residents who suffer from dementia: Individuals who suffer from some form of dementia are at a significantly higher risk, according to the NCEA. In fact, a 2010 study indicated that nearly 50 percent of individuals who reside in nursing homes and have dementia suffer some form of abuse. Psychological abuse was experienced by 88.5 percent of these victims, 28.5 percent suffered neglect, and 19.7 were victims of physical abuse.
- Residents in understaffed facilities: More than 90 percent of nursing homes in the United States are currently understaffed. Residents who live in facilities that lack an adequate number of care providers are at a higher risk of suffering from abuse. Labor shortages often result in staff members who are stressed, overworked and inadequately supervised, creating optimal breeding grounds for nursing home abuse. Common types of abuse suffered include neglect or basic needs, the administration of inappropriate sedating medications, and acts of physical or mental abuse by frustrated caregivers.
- Residents who lack visitors: Studies reveal that nursing home residents who are lonely or isolated from others, especially visitors, are at a higher risk of being neglected or abused.
- Female residents of nursing homes: According to research, women are more likely to become victims of nursing home abuse than men. Of the estimated 2,150,000 cases of elderly abuse that occur each year, approximately 67.3 percent of victims are female.
The effects of nursing home abuse can be severe. In addition to suffering from physical injuries, illnesses and emotional trauma, studies show that victims of nursing home abuse are 300 percent more likely to die within a year than nursing home residents who have not been mistreated. While criminal charges can be brought against the abuser, victims can often recover compensation for injuries as well as punitive damages when a nursing home abuse claim is filed.