Facts & Statistics

Facts & Statistics

Contextualizing Nursing Home Abuse


How common is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is extremely common, especially in nursing homes. As adults age, they become more likely to experience abuse. The rates of abuse are higher for older individuals living in nursing homes or other care facilities.

→ An estimated 5 million elders are abused each year.

→ Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse.

→ A national survey of nursing home staff shows 36% of nursing home residents witnessed at least 1 incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year; 10% committed at least 1 act of physical abuse towards an elderly patient; 40% admitted to psychologically abusing patients.

What are the most common types of elder abuse?

The National Center on Elder Abuse identifies five major categories of abuse. Psychological abuse is the most common form of senior abuse, and one of the most difficult to identify.

What is the cause of nursing home abuse?

Nursing homes may be inadequately staffed, or the members of the staff may have been poorly trained. A lot of abuse is derived from neglect, and the failure to provide proper, personalized care for each nursing home resident.

90% of US nursing homes have staff levels too low for adequate care. One nurse’s aide may care for up to 30 people.

→ A ratio of nurse’s aides to patients is 1:15, but it can go as high as 30. The recommendation is 1:3 during a meal and 1:6 during non-meal times.

70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.

How many cases of nursing home abuse are reported?

Elder abuse can lead to serious physical, psychological, financial, social and medical consequences. Many cases of nursing home abuse remain unreported due to fear, embarrassment or a lack of awareness.

→ In 2007, there was an average of 20 complaints per nursing home, which equated to 257,872 complaints relating to quality of care, facilities, staffing, and other factors.

→ Statistics show that 90% of abusers are trusted individuals, such as residents, or familiar visitors may be responsible for abuse.

→ An estimated 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported, which equates to about 20% of abuse cases.

Why are the elderly vulnerable to abuse?

Nursing home residents with cognitive or physical difficulties, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or social isolation, make patients more vulnerable to abuse. Overmedication and improper distribution of medication also increase an elder’s risk of being abused.

people with dementia
women with disabilities

An estimated 50% of people with dementia experienced some form of abuse or neglect.

One-third of all nursing home patients take antipsychotic drugs.

Women with disabilities living in an institution reported a 33% prevalence of having ever experienced interpersonal violence versus 21% women without disabilities.

If you or a loved one suspect abuse or neglect, please contact our attorneys immediately.

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