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Why is abuse so common in nursing homes?

A nursing home should be a place where vulnerable people can feel safe and cared for. Since people are living longer lives, they need to be in an environment that can support them emotionally and physically. While many older people do receive the support that they need in residential care, a shocking number of others suffer in silence due to abuse and neglect.

Many people who have loved ones residing in care facilities wonder how such treatment is allowed to happen and why it is so common. The following are some reasons for the prevalence of abuse and neglect:


Understaffing is generally understood to be one of the primary drivers of nursing home abuse and neglect. When not enough staff is present at a facility, employees on shift will feel rushed to provide adequate care. Often, employees have the best intentions, but if they do not have enough time to care for all nursing home residents, some of them will suffer due to neglect. In some cases, overworked staff can become frustrated at nursing home residents and, consequently, engage in verbal or physical abuse.

Poor training

Nursing home staff should be adequately trained so that they can give appropriate care to residents and use all equipment correctly. The misuse of restraints is a common form of abuse that is against federal nursing home regulations.

Lack of resources

Nursing home staff will not be able to provide proper care to residents if they do not have the resources to do so. If the home is not washing clothing regularly or not restocking food and medication, the resident may suffer due to poor nutrition or hygiene.

Negligent staffing

Nursing homes must employ people who are empathetic and caring toward residents. Unfortunately, those capable of being physically or sexually abusive sometimes become employed as caregivers. In this situation, it may be possible to hold the nursing home responsible due to negligent hiring practices.

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