Incidents of abuse and neglect in nursing home facilities frequently go unreported due to fear of retribution. Nursing home staff members fear retaliation that may result in termination. Residents and their family members fear that the nursing home resident may face additional abuse and neglect if incidents are reported to authorities.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

According to various reports, nursing home staff members who report deficiencies within the system or draw attention to incidents of neglect or abuse are fearful they may lose their job, have their work hours reduced, or suffer other types of punitive consequences. The Aged Crisis Care Center is aware of several incidents where these types of retaliation have occurred. Reports by the center show numerous incidents where these fears have been validated by employment termination.

Nurses who complain to management or speak up about suspicions or allegations of abuse are particularly at risk of losing their jobs. This factor contributes to a high turn-over rate among nurses in many nursing home facilities. When nursing home residents complain or speak up, they face even a greater risk. Many residents who speak out about abuse or neglect experience further abuse as retribution. Many resident allegations are dismissed by facility authorities who claim they are troublemakers or have mental problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. If family members notice or suspect signs of abuse, they are often afraid to report their suspicions to nursing homes and instead file injury claims with a nursing home abuse attorney who can investigate and follow up with nursing home authorities about alleged abuse.

Due to the current number of baby boomers who are now seniors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a need for more than 800,000 new health care aides within the next 10 years in the U.S. Although many seniors will remain living in their homes as they age, many others will end up in nursing homes where they can receive assistance due to illness, immobility, or mental incapacity. Investigating the living environment and care provided in a nursing home facility is essential prior to admittance. Protecting the health and rights of loved ones from nursing home abuse and neglect should be a priority, not an option.