When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

When you make the emotionally diffi cult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home you have

every right to expect that he or she will be well taken care of. Although most nursing home employees

are hardworking and conscientious it only takes a few bad apples to cause serious harm. In

addition, many nursing homes are intentionally understaffed to save on expenses leaving employees overworked

and more prone to mistakes. Training may be skimpy and screening procedures for new hires may be lax.

Nursing home abuse can take various forms:

• Physical abuse includes inadequately explained bruises, fractures, scrapes, sores, lacerations, burns, and forced


• Emotional abuse may lead to the resident being fearful or depressed, withdrawing from social interaction, displaying

other unusual behavior, or possibly losing weight or hair.

• Sexual abuse symptoms often overlap physical and emotional abuse symptoms.

• A resident’s daily needs may be neglected—proper hygiene, nutrition, medical care, and access to medical aids

(e.g., glasses, dentures, etc.), among others.

If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect and it is an emergency, call 911

immediately. If the situation is not life-threatening it is still important to take immediate action.


In New Hampshire you can report your suspicions to the Bureau of Elderly & Adult Services at (603) 271-7014. You can

also call the Ombudsmen’s Offi ce who will investigate the situation and act as an advocate for you and your loved one. The

Ombudsmen’s Offi ce of Long Term Care can be reached at (603) 271-4375.


In Massachusetts you can report your suspicions to the Massachusetts Elder Protective Services. This organization protects

and provides services to the elderly. They have an elder abuse hotline available 24/7 at (800) 922-2775. You can also

call the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Offi ce who will assist you and advocate for your family. Each area has a different

ombudsman’s offi ce. Every nursing home in Massachusetts is required to post the local ombudsman’s information in public

view. Look for the correct number to call posted at the nursing home.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect call me. I can offer guidance on your legal

options and make sure that your loved one’s rights are being protected.



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