Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Overview

Nursing Home abuse and neglect continue to be serious problems affecting some of our nation’s most vulnerable.  About two million Americans are currently receiving long-term care at a nursing home facility, and all too often, the rights of residents are infringed upon by nursing home staff.   Choosing to live at a certain nursing home facility does not constitute a waiver of rights, and the rights of the elderly must be protected.

Federal law defines “abuse” and “neglect” as follows:

  • Abuse: an intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care/service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish
  • Neglect: a failure, intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in resident harm or anxiety

And, under United States federal law nursing home residents have the following rights:

“Each resident has the right to be free from mistreatment, neglect and misappropriation of property. This includes the facility’s identification of residents whose personal histories render them at risk for abusing other residents, and development of intervention strategies to prevent occurrences, monitoring for changes that would trigger abusive behavior, and reassessment of the interventions on a regular basis.[1]

Under federal nursing home regulations, nursing homes must:

  • Have sufficient nursing staff. (42 CFR §483.30)
  • Conduct initially a comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity. (42 CFR §483.20)
  • Develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident. (42 CFR §483.20)
  • Prevent the deterioration of a resident’s ability to bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat, and to communicate. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Provide, if a resident is unable to carry out activities of daily living, the necessary services to maintain good nutrition, grooming, and personal oral hygiene. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Ensure that residents receive proper treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing abilities. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Ensure that residents do not develop pressure sores and, if a resident has pressure sores, provide the necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Provide appropriate treatment and services to incontinent residents to restore as much normal bladder functioning as possible. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Ensure that the resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Provide each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Ensure that residents are free of any significant medication errors. (42 CFR §483.25)
  • Promote each resident’s quality of life. (42 CFR §483.15)
  • Maintain dignity and respect of each resident. (42 CFR §483.15)
  • Ensure that the resident has the right to choose activities, schedules, and health care. (42 CFR §483.40)
  • Provide pharmaceutical services to meet the needs of each resident. (42 CFR §483.60)
  • Be administered in a manner that enables it [the nursing home] to use its resources effectively and efficiently. (42 CFR §483.75)
  • Maintain accurate, complete, and easily accessible clinical records on each resident . (42 CFR §483.75)[2]

State-provided rights of nursing home residents vary by state.  A state-by-state breakdown of nursing home resident rights may be helpful if you believe a loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect.

As this developing problem continues to unfold, our team of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers will continue to post new information and clarify issues as they become apparent.  If you believe a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, do not hesitate to contact our offices for more information or a free case consultation.

At your convenience, you may reach our offices by phone at (855) 452 – 5529 or by e-mail at  Call today and see how we can help.