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Abuse of the elderly can take many forms, but it is particularly egregious when it happens in a nursing home at the hands of people who are supposed to be taking care of you.  Federal law defines abuse in a nursing home as

Any act, failure to act, or incitement to act done willfully, knowingly, or recklessly through words or physical action which causes or could cause mental or physical injury or harm or death to a resident. This includes verbal, sexual, mental/psychological, or physical abuse, including corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, or any other actions within this definition.

Examples of physical abuse include

  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Kicking.
  • Controlling behavior through corporal punishment.
  • Sexual abuse

However, abuse is not always physical, it also can be:

  • Involuntary seclusion
  • Mental/psychological abuse
  • Verbal abuse

If you are aware any abuse of a nursing home resident, you should report it immediately to the State agency responsible for investigation in nursing homes.

In Texas, that number is 1-800-458-9858.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, along with other residential and rehabilitation facilities, are entrusted with the care of people who need help caring for themselves. The employees of these facilities should follow established standards of care, which include following doctors’ orders and providing the care that is generally expected from similar providers, including guidelines established by the state and federal governments. It is considered neglect if an injury or other health problem occurs due to lack of following these standards.