Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

An estimated 1 in 14 nursing home abuse cases are reported to
authorities in the United States

Around the nation, there are a large number of cases that involve nursing home abuse against caregivers and patients.

Here, we provide an overview of the most up-to-date nursing home abuse statistics (2019).

Elder abuse occurs when physical, emotional, sexual unwanted behavior happens to patients currently residing at a nursing home. The statistics are scary, to say the least, our nursing home abuse & neglect attorneys have gathered statistics concerning abuse within nursing homes.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes happen for a wide range of reasons.

Often, the core problem is negligence on the part of the managers of the facility or the owners of the nursing home. Though abuse may not be intentional in every case, that is absolutely no excuse.

Even negligence can be considered nursing home abuse and this becomes partly due to the number of understaffed nursing homes.

At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., our top-rated Athens, GA nursing home abuse attorneys have extensive experience advocating for victims and their families.

If you have questions or concerns, or if you believe your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect, please do not hesitate to contact our law office for immediate legal guidance.

If you have questions or concerns, or if you believe your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect, please do not hesitate to contact our law office for immediate legal guidance.

Nursing Home Abuse is an Epidemic

Tragically, nursing home abuse is an epidemic in the United States. According to the most recent data from Nursing Home Abuse Justice, there are 5 million elder abuse cases every year. Approximately 10% of all people over the age of 60 report having been abused.

Older people and more vulnerable people face higher rates of abuse and neglect.

Abuse and neglect come in many different forms. In some cases, physical abuse is intentional and direct. It could come at the hands of a staff member or even another nursing home resident.

In other cases, abuse or neglect leads to physical injuries that could have easily been avoided with proper care. For example, falls are a common problem in nursing homes, with the average incidence of falls being 1.5 per resident each year.

Many nursing home falls happen, at least in part, because of abuse or neglect.

Beyond physical abuse, many nursing home residents suffer tremendous emotional and psychological trauma. A 2005 study found that 55% of nursing home residents had depression during their first year.

Emotional and psychological abuse is especially difficult to detect. The scarring and the pain may not always leave physical marks, but that does not mean the abuse is any less damaging to the victim.

It is crucial that family members take action to protect their vulnerable loved ones at the first sign of abuse in a nursing home.

Medication errors are another common neglect-related issue in nursing homes. Polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications, is a common problem in nursing homes.

In a study of 22 Boston nursing homes, 37.5% of patients with advanced dementia received at least one medication that was not appropriate for their diagnosis.

Complaints are Common — But Nursing Home Abuse is Systemically Underreported

Complaints in nursing homes have long been a serious problem.

In 2007, the Administration on Aging received 257,872 complaints regarding resident rights, quality of care, quality of life, staffing, and facilities – or approximately 20 complaints per nursing home (www.acl.gov).

Another data point: In 2008, approximately 269,000 complaints about elder mistreatment were registered and 78% of those related to nursing home care.

Yet, even though complaints are extremely common, the experts believe that most nursing home abuse victims never file an actual complaint. Many do not even report the abuse at all — even to their closest family members.

They may be too scared to do so, or may not have the mental or physical capacity to talk about the problem. Some studies estimate that just one in fourteen nursing home abuse cases are reported. Though, that may be a low estimate.

The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that just 4% — 1 in 25 — cases of elder abuse were reported.

Nursing Home Abuse Can Be Deadly

The statistics on nursing homes reveal just how serious this problem can be for families. In far too many cases, nursing home abuse is deadly. Current statistics indicate that 24% of Americans die each year in a nursing home.

Many of those deaths could and should have been prevented with better care. Older adults are especially vulnerable.

As an example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as many as 13,700 elderly persons died from falls each year

Some nursing home residents fare much worse than others, as certain facilities are especially ill-prepared to provide adequate care. Notably, overall mortality rates for Medicaid residents in nursing homes was 14.8% points higher than privately funded residents, suggesting that policymakers may need to look more closely at whether Medicaid residents are segregated into lower-quality facilities (Med Care, October 2004, 42(10), 985-91, “Examining Differences in Death Rates for Medicaid and non-Medicaid Nursing Home Residents”).

One in Five residents who were not designated as “near end of life” in their initial assessments died within the first six months of admission. How many of these fatalities could have been avoided with better care?. A study of 323 residents with advanced dementia, followed for 18 months, had a mortality rate of 54.8%.

These are alarming figures and they show how high the stakes are in nursing homes. Proper, attentive care is a must.

Many Nursing Homes are Understaffed

One of the biggest problems in the industry is that nursing homes are chronically understaffed. According to the American Association for Justice, 90% of nursing homes have staffing too low to adequately care for their residents. A recent review of federal data backs up this analysis.

PBS Newshour noted that the overwhelming majority of American nursing homes are understaffed at least during some points in the week.

In many cases, the staffing levels are inconsistent, meaning a nursing home may only be properly staffed during regular business and visitor hours.

The Elderly Population is Growing — Problems Could Get Worse

In 2008, approximately 1.4 million people lived in nursing homes at any given time and more than 3.25 million people spent time in a skilled nursing facility.

As of 2019, that number has already exploded, and it is projected to rise far higher in the coming years. This is one of the most important things that Georgia families need to know about nursing home statistics going forward.

According to data provided by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), there were approximately 40 million senior citizens in 2008, there are 50 million in 2019, and there are projected to be 75 million by 2050.

At the same time, the need for elder care is growing, our society is doing little to increase our capacity to provide such care. Marketwatch reports there is already a shortage in geriatric doctors and medical professionals. Nursing homes are at risk of becoming more crowded.

There are serious worries that abuse and neglect could become even more pernicious problems in the coming years. At this point in time, it is imperative for all Georgia families who have a loved one in a nursing home remain vigilant.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home & Abuse Attorney in Georgia

At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., our Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to fighting for the rights of you and your family. We prosecute nursing homes and long-term care facilities for abuse and neglect. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect, you need to take immediate action.

To set up a free, no-obligation consultation, please contact one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys today. We handle nursing home abuse and neglect claims on contingency — you will not pay a fee unless we win your case. From our office in Athens, we serve communities throughout the state of Georgia.

It is crucial that family members take action to protect their vulnerable loved ones at the first sign of abuse in a nursing home.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home & Abuse Attorney in Georgia

We prosecute nursing homes and long-term care facilities for abuse and neglect. If you suspect your loved on has been a victim of abuse or neglect, contact one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys today. Contact us or call our office today at (706) 354-4000.