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.

Why is there so much abuse in nursing homes?

Elder abuse in nursing homes depends entirely on the individual nursing home, the quality that they uphold, how experienced their staff are, and generally, how the nursing home is operated and managed. Other reasons for elderly mistreatment can be attributed to understaffing, inexperienced staff, underpaid staff, poorly supervised and managed staff, shortage of resources, underpaid staff and individual caregiver issues.

What is the average settlement for nursing home neglect?

According to a study completed by Project Hope, the average settlement for nursing home neglect is approximately $406,000 per claim, doubling a typical malpractice claim1. In this study, the researchers conclude that this substantial amount can elevate quality care concerns due to the re-diversion of resources to litigation.

What are the 3 most common complaints about nursing homes?

Complaints about nursing homes can be split into two: those of the residents and those of their families. These complaints shine a light on the lack of quality care that residents receive. The three most common complaints include slow responses to calls, lack of social interaction with other residents and family members, and poor food quality.

What is the average size of a nursing home in the United States?

The U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services reported approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States, with a total of 1.66 million certified beds. According to statistics, nursing homes ranged in capacity from 500 to 1,300 beds, with an average of 106 certified bed capacity2.

What is considered resident abuse?

The Administration of Aging, a department within the U.S. federal government, defines elder resident abuse as any ‘knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person, inflicting serious harm or serious risk to a vulnerable person3’. These acts can be of a physical, emotional, sexual, financial or verbal nature.

How many elderly residents are abused in nursing homes?

In one study conducted by National Institute of Health, the researchers concluded that only 1 in 14 cases are reported to the necessary authorities, leaving older adults in precarious situations.

In what age group do more than 80% of nursing home residents fall into?

Most nursing home residents are elderly, with 88% being 65 and above. According to a report by AARP, the number of residents depends on their care needs, life expectancy rates and disability trends.

How many people are in nursing homes in the U.S.?

As of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded that there is approximately 15, 600 registered nursing homes, with 69.3% having a for-profit ownership status. The number of licensed beds teeters on 1.7 million across all nursing homes.

What is the most common type of elder abuse and mistreatment?

According to the National Council on Aging, the most common type of mistreatment is neglect, which increases the risk of death by 300%6. Negligence can be passive or active and occurs when a caregiver fails to safeguard an older adult and refuses to provide life’s necessities.

What percentage of elders are abused?

Research reports that approximately 1 in 10 senior Americans, who are aged 60+, have faced some form of elder abuse. Although some types of abuse are easy to identify, others can be difficult to pinpoint.

What are the 6 types of elder abuse?

According to National Council on Aging, the six types of elder abuse include:

Physical abuse; inflicting pain, bruises, or unexplained falls.
Sexual abuse; fondling, touching, intercourse or any sexual activity, without consent.
Emotional abuse; verbal threats, harassment, or knowingly intimidating.
Financial exploitation; fraud, missing property and belongings, or forged financial documents.
Abandonment; intentionally deserting an older adult.

What is care home abuse?

Care home abuse can be defined as harm or pain towards an elderly resident within a care facility, which leads to the decline of their quality of life. Here, the most common form of abuse is negligence due to understaffing and overwhelmed care home workers.

Why does abuse happen in care homes?

It is important to note that the same issues that lead to care home abuse can cause residents to suffer from care home neglect; however, care home abuse is usually intentional while neglect is as a consequence of lack of care6. Care home abuse can range from a focus on profits, understaffing to low-quality facilities and inadequate training.

Where is elder abuse most prevalent?

According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse is most prevalent in institutions that provide care to older adults such as care homes, nursing homes and assisted living long-term facilities. In their 2019 article titled “Elder abuse”, WHO discusses a 2017 study that reports 2 in 3 staff (64% of the study participants) have perpetrated some form of abuse7.

Who commits the most elder abuse?

Abusers can be either men or women, and almost 60% are family members or someone entrusted to care for the older adult. More than two-thirds of abuse perpetrators are spouse’s and adult children.

What percentage of those over the age of 85 live in a nursing home?

As of 2019, about 1.5 million older adults are living in nursing homes. According to a 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report carried out by the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services, 43% of nursing home residents are aged 85 and older8.

What is the most common mistreatment of the elderly?

The most common mistreatment of the elderly is neglect, due to untrained caregivers or performing international acts that deprive an older adult of basic life necessities. Though under-reported nationally, financial abuse and fraud costs are prevalent issues and have led to a national annual loss of $3 to $20 billion annually.

How do you investigate nursing home abuse?

Investigating nursing home abuse can be challenging, and you will need the help of experts to prove that abuse occurred. If you suspect nursing home abuse, you must report it immediately. As a first step, it is essential to include a detailed explanation of your observations and the signs of abuse or neglect that you have encountered.

How many elderly citizens are victims of abuse and neglect in America?

In 2017, President Trump signed into law the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017, which identifies the need to collect data and facts on elder abuse. The National Adult Mistreatment Report System (NAMRS) reveals that 1 in 10 older adults suffers from more than one form of abuse

How many nursing homes are there in the United States?

Research shows that they are approximately 15, 600 registered nursing homes, with 69.3% having a for-profit ownership status2,5. This means that most nursing homes are concerned with making money rather than meeting their residents’ needs. For profit assisted living facilities are set to increase 2020 onwards.

How do you prove Nursing Home Negligence?

All nursing home negligence claims must be accompanied by proof and evidence. You must educate yourself on the signs of negligence to differentiate between common occurrences, and persistent issues coming up due to inattentive staff members. To prove nursing home negligence, you would need to gather evidence such as medical records, verbal statements, or pictures of unexplained bruises or injuries.

What are the signs of elder abuse?

If you notice changes in personality and behaviour, and continued tension between a carer/nursing home staff member and the elder, it is highly likely that abuse is taking place. These are several signs of elder abuse to look out for: signs of being restrained, carer/nursing home staff member lurking around, behaviour that resembles dementia, unsuitably dressed for the weather etc.

Why is elder abuse not reported?

The National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS) 2014 data reveals that 7.6% cases reported in that year involved elder abuse, mistreatment neglect, or exploitation10. The data reveals a huge discrepancy, since statistics say otherwise. Experts state that elder abuse is not reported for several reasons; lack of knowledge on how to report, no family to report to, fear that things will get worse, or fear of losing their independence etc.

Why does elder abuse happen?

There’s no simple answer to this question because several factors contribute to elder abuse. Usually, a mix of social, economic and psychological factors led to the persistent occurrence of abuse. Here are some common reasons why elder abuse happens; vicious cycle of violence through the generations, stress of taking care of an older adult, or alcohol/Gambling/Drugs: severe drinking bouts, gambling away money necessary for elder’s well-being.

How do I report neglect in a nursing home?

To report neglect in a nursing home, always ask yourself; “what services are near me?” You can use the following avenues to report:

Call the Eldercare Locator hotline on 1-800-677-1116.
Reach out to a local Ombudsmen.
Seek advice from an assigned medical practitioner (doctor or nurse).
Call a nursing abuse lawyer and advocate.
Call 911 in severe cases.

What agency oversees nursing homes?

Since two-thirds of 1.4 million nursing home residents depend on Mediacid, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in charge of overseeing nursing homes11. Other agencies such as The U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services and The Administration of Aging, a department within the U.S. federal government, are also in charge of safeguarding and reinforcing laws associated with older adults.

1David G. Stevenson and David M. Studdert. “The Rise Of Nursing Home Litigation: Findings From A National Survey Of Attorneys”. (2003).
2 U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services. “Long-term Care Providers and
Services Users in the United States, 2015–2016.” (2019).
3 U.S. Administration of Aging, “What is Elder Abuse?”
4AARP: Nonprofit Organization. “Public Policy Institute.”
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “National Center for Health Statistics.” (2016)
6 National Council on Aging (NCOA). “Elder Abuse Facts.”
7 World Health Organization. “Elder Abuse.” (2019)
8 U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “2016 CMS Statistics.”
9 U.S. Department of Justice. “National Adult Mistreatment Report System (NAMRS).” (2017).
10 National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS). “LTC Ombudsman National and State Data.” (2014).
11Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Nursing Homes.”

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

Updated by Jerry Parker

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