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Knoxville Medical Malpractice Attorney > Blog > Nursing Home Malpractice > What Is Nursing Home Abuse, And Why Does It Happen?

What Is Nursing Home Abuse, And Why Does It Happen?


Nursing home abuse, sadly, is an all too common occurrence in Tennessee and across the United States. Up to 5 million American seniors are abused in nursing homes and assisted living facilities each year, a shocking and sobering statistic. In Tennessee, 11 nursing home facilities were recently added to a Federal watch list for poorly performing facilities, citing documented issues with abuse, neglect, or poor supervision.

Nursing home abuse takes many forms, including:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Financial Abuse and Fraud

Combined, these various types of abuse impact both women and men, and those with cognitive issues are at particular risk. Consequences of nursing home abuse can be minor or severe, sometimes even leading to serious injury or death. In financial abuse cases, a person’s entire savings can be wiped out at the hands of predatory individuals. With nursing home problems so widespread and dangerous, families are left to wonder how these issues occur at facilities they put their trust in.

What are Some Contributing Factors to Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse can start at the facility level, with administrative problems such as:

  • This can lead to burnout and fatigue among workers that are forced to work extra hours or double shifts to cover for a lack of staff.
  • Poor training, or lack of training. Nursing home care is difficult work that requires a certain set of skills and training. When employees are hired that don’t meet basic training criteria, or don’t receive proper training on the job, numerous problems can arise during the course of their employment.
  • Nursing home mismanagement. If administrators cut corners at the top, or misdirect funding, these problems will affect the entire facility over time. In many instances, there will be a connection between abuse among patients and issues at the management level.
  • Poor pay. When employees at any job feel they are overworked and underpaid, this can affect their job performance and mental attitude at work. When a person works in a nursing home or any patient-care setting, this can lead to neglectful or abusive conduct toward the patients at the facility. An employee’s personal stress can carry over into their behavior toward co-workers and patients when poor pay is an issue.

These are some of the “environmental” factors that can lead to incidents of abuse or neglect at a nursing home. Sometimes, unfortunately, even if these factors are not an issue, abuse can still occur due to problems with individual staffers themselves. A “bad egg” at a nursing home can use their access and authority as a staff member to engage in harmful and dangerous conduct toward patients. When this happens, they must be held responsible.

If you believe that a family member or loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home, make sure to document your impressions and report the issue to proper authorities. In Tennessee, you can report issues with a nursing home facility or individual practitioner through the state’s Centralized Complaint Intake Unit.

Additionally, it is important to consult an experienced Knoxville area nursing home malpractice attorney that can discuss these problems in further detail. You and your family may have legal remedies available to you, including financial compensation.

The Knoxville, Tennessee Nursing Home Litigation Attorneys at Atkins Brezina, PLLC, Can Investigate and Take Legal Action in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

 If it appears that your family member has been abused or neglected in any way while at a nursing home facility, your loved one has important legal rights that must be advanced. Our Knoxville nursing home malpractice lawyers at Atkins Brezina, PLLC, will advocate for you and take any steps necessary to address the wrongdoers.



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