Employee Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

Maryland nursing homes are responsible for keeping residents safe. When a resident is abused by an employee, that nursing home should be held accountable for the harm done. Federal and Maryland law require criminal background checks. Maryland nursing homes need to sufficiently screen, train and supervise their employees. If they fail to do so and a resident is harmed, they may be sued for negligence so they can pay compensation to the victim.

The number of nursing home residents was about 1.4 million and the number of residents in residential care communities was 835,200 in 2014, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). Research has shown that neglect and abuse of nursing home residents is common.

  • The data in the National Ombudsman Reporting System for 2014 states that 14,258 (7.6%) of approximately 188,599 complaints reported to Ombudsman programs involved abuse, gross neglect or exploitation.
  • A study by the U.S. General Accountability Office in 2008 showed that state surveys under-count problems in licensed facilities: 70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.

The NCEA states that nursing home abuse and neglect by employees is widespread.

  • Nearly a third of all nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that had the potential to cause harm or that actually caused harm to a resident during 1999 to 2001.
  • Nearly one out of ten nursing homes had violations that caused residents harm, serious injury or placed them in jeopardy of death.
  • In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said they had suffered abuse.
  • More than half of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating older residents (including physical violence, mental abuse and neglect) in the year prior to the survey. A third of those incidents involved physical violence and mental abuse.
  • A survey of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) found that 17% of them admitted to pushing, grabbing or shoving a nursing home resident.
  • 51% of the CNAs reported they had yelled at a resident and 23% had insulted or sworn at a resident.
  • 7% of all complaints regarding nursing homes or long term care facilities reported to Ombudsmen were complaints of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Nursing home residents reported many types of abuse, based on 2010 data.

  • Physical abuse – 29%
  • Sexual abuse – 7%
  • Psychological abuse – 21%
  • Financial exploitation – 7%
  • Gross neglect – 14%
  • Resident-to-resident abuse – 22%.

These are some common characteristics of those who abuse the elderly and disabled:

  • A history of past or current substance abuse
  • Mental or physical health problems
  • A history of trouble with the police
  • Social isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Under major stress.

Abuse of nursing home residents by employees is more than just statistics. It impacts residents every day.

  • Federal health regulators announced plans to punish nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents then post them on social media, reports NPR. Some of these photos and videos show residents who were naked, covered in feces or deceased. Some of these posts include images of abuse.
  • Alabama regulators cited an Anniston nursing home for allowing an employee to continue to work after a patient accused him of sexual abuse, reports the Anniston Star.
  • Three former nursing home employees are facing multiple criminal charges in Kentucky because of alleged abuse of two nursing home residents in 2013 and 2014. The charges include criminal abuse, assault, abuse/neglect of an adult and wanton endangerment, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.
  • An Alabama nursing home employee is facing charges of attempted murder and making threats. The former CNA is accused of abusing a nursing home resident, threatening her and trying to suffocate her with a pillow, according to the Dothan Eagle.
  • A former nursing home employee is charged with abusing dementia patients she was supposed to care for at a New Castle, Pennsylvania, nursing home, reports WKBN. She faces a total of ten criminal charges. She is accused of putting a sock in a resident’s mouth, placing her hand over her mouth and nose, and yelling at a resident; another employee had to push her away from the resident to get her to stop.

Call the Law Offices of Roger Weinberg, LLC, at 1-866-529-5839 from anywhere in Maryland, or fill out this contact form if you or a loved one at a nursing home or assisted living facility has been abused or harmed by an employee. Our lawyers have been practicing in this area for decades, know the rights of Maryland nursing home patients and understand the way the nursing home industry works.

We can help get the justice and compensation that your loved one deserves. We recognize that while there are many facilities that do a respectable job, there are many that do not — and it’s the vulnerable, elderly residents who pay the price.

  • Avvo