An Introduction to the Issue of the Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Abuse

Going back a few decades to the year 1987 where a new law called the The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or Nursing Home Reform Act, which was one of the first laws to be passed related to elder abuse. The law had been named the most significant regulation passed that was associated with elder abuse. The law provided new rights for residents in nursing homes with such things as privacy privileges, knowing info on medical costs, to speak out their concerns without judgement, and have adjustments made to their needs as they wished.

41) Until then there wasn’t any laws to protect the rights of nursing home residents.

Unfortunately, elder abuse in nursing homes is still an ongoing problem even after the laws that were passed to protect the residents that are still being abused today. Nursing homes have been around for many years and elder abuse has troubled society for a long period of time. Only in the 1970s in the United Kingdom did the first reports start to come out for elder abuse and neglect.

It was then, a decade later that studies established that elder abuse was commonplace in the United States as well. Then, in the late 70s United States’ Senate Special Committee on Aging delivered a sequence of accounts on elder abuse and neglect that happened in nursing homes. Move to the year 1981 where United States’ House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging directed hearings in which mistreated elders presented their own personal evidence of their experiences with the abuse they endured.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Free Papers

4.7 (657)

“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Which then these series of events helped passed the law in 1987 and created the Elder Abuse Task Force which was formed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As now all 50 states have laws relating and protecting against elder abuse. (Muehlbauer and Crane 1-45)

1.5 million aging adults or disabled Americans reside in nursing homes throughout the United States, which collect more than $58 billion a year from state and national health insurance plan for their facilities. As it was found out that USs Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS makes criteria of standards for nursing homes to qualify to receive funding. Although CMS require nursing homes to report accusations of abuse and neglect, they are frequently not reported or the accounts are postponed for days or weeks by nursing homes. Some reasons why reports are delayed can be residents are afraid of punishment by staff or managements or they simply do not know where to take the report of abuse to. (McCarthy)

Elder abuse can fall into one of five categories: physical, emotional or psychological, neglect, sexual, or financial. Physical abuse can be the use of force to cause pain and injury, is it also the most common type of abuse seen in nursing homes. Emotional abuse can be verbal and
nonverbal with such things as name-calling or ignoring a resident to cause emotional discomfort. Neglect can be failure to tend to the needs of the residents in such ways an emotional, physical, and social. Sexual abuse is any contact to the resident that is non-consensual. Financial abuse sexploitation of the resident’s financial funds and resources. Each abuse has its own signs to look Out for and hinder the well-being of each resident. As it was reported that for every case of abuse reported, five reports go unreported. (Watson 40-41)

In a recent four-week study, it was found that almost one in every five residents at a nursing home had a confrontational or hostile experience with one or more of the other residents. As elder mistreatment between residents can account for 20% and is only a problem that is growing. It was found that it was a common problem in nursing homes, as it was suggested it was prevalent and is only expected to grow with more negatives incidents. This resident-to resident is under-reported as well, with not nearly enough of these aggressive events being reported. These incidents of abuse shift the common perspective of elder abuse only happening by the staff to instead the other residents who are aggressive to other fellow residents. It shows us that other residents can be abusive to their fellow cohabitants. (“Mistreatment among residents prevalent”)

Compared to for-profit nursing homes, not-for-profit nursing homes have a tendency to have less inadequacies than for-profit nursing homes, that’s because more funds are spent on staff and teaching instead. A certified nurse’s aide or CNA is the one of lower positions on a
nursing home care role, they can make as little as ten dollars hourly wage when caring such residents with dementia. As it can be seen that due to staff shortages that the staff can be put on overtime and double shifts for staff who have to handle the needs of residents who may not be familiar of the single needs of each resident. Since proper training and resources can help staff be better equipped to care for the residents. (Alexander) Those who work in a nursing home setting are more likely to experience assault and being overworked than other health care workforces and more likely than all labors to have damages from these events. But since the 1990s a decline as shown for such assault on the staff. It can be said that with workplace injury and assault, can create a setting where the residents are more vulnerable to abuse, usually when one type of abuse is going on another is going on as well. (Payne, K, and Appel 51-53)

In the 2010 Census, it was reported that there were 40.3 million people over the age of 65, which was 13% of the population that were considered elderly. This number was higher than years past and is only expected to grow. In 2040, one in five people in the United States will be age 65 and older. In a U.S. government report it was named that elder abuse was on the increasing with multiple types of abuse. (Watson 40) To look at statistics for elder abuse in nursing home, in 2000 it was found that “2,000 nursing home residents found that 44% of them had been abused, and 95% of those surveyed reported that they had been neglected or had seen others neglected. Perhaps even more compelling, those same studies found that more than 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating nursing home patients.” (Landers)

Elder abuse in nursing home is a very complex and sensitive issue, but is one that can be very widespread in nursing homes throughout the United States. It’s one that can easily prevented, but a lot of the time it goes unreported or those abused are often scared to come
forward. With accurate training, guidelines, resources set for nursing homes, elder abuse can be eradicated and can maybe in the future be an issue of the past. As residents are more vulnerable with disabilities such as being in a wheelchair or having dementia or other diseases. With such laws in place on a federal and state level, it’s still a topic that is still relevant today and one that will still be relevant in the future unless something is done. The topic of elder abuse in nursing homes is one that needs more awareness and more justice for those neglected and abused in the very places that are expected to care and provide for them in the first place.

Works Cited

  1. Alexander, Jon. “Watching Out for Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect.” Post-Star, The (GlenFalls, NY) 19 May 2013: Newspaper Source. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  2. Landers, David. “Nursing Home Abuse Statistics and Data.” NOLO. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  3. McCarthy, Michael. “Report Finds Abuse in US Nursing Homes Goes Unreported and Unpunished:” Lancet 359.9309 (2002): 860. Business Source Complete. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  4. “Mistreatment among Residents Prevalent.” USA Today 12 2014: 10. ProQuest. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  5. Muehlbauer, M, and PA Crane. “Elder Abuse and Neglect.” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services 44.11 (2006): 43-48. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  6. Payne, BK, and JK Appel. “Workplace Violence and Worker Injury in Elderly Care Settings: Reflective of a Setting Vulnerable to Elder Abuse?” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 14.4 (2007): 43-56. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
  7. Watson, Eilen. “Elder Abuse: Definition, Types and Statistics, and Elder Abuse (Mistreatment And Neglect) Laws.” Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting 24.2 (2013): 40-42. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Cite this page

An Introduction to the Issue of the Abuse in Nursing Homes. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7