How likely is it that a nursing home resident will suffer abuse or neglect?

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a major problem. We do not like to think that our loved ones could be in danger, but the problem is significant. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), nearly half of nursing homes in the U.S. are understaffed, which is a warning sign for neglect.

According to the NCEA, recent large studies of elder abuse indicated that up to 10 percent of participants in the studies had experienced abuse sometime in the preceding year. However, the problem is believed to be significantly underreported. In spite of provisions in the law for mandatory reporting of abuse and neglect, it was estimated by one study that only one case in 14 ever comes to authorities’ attention.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes may be quite widespread. One study in 2000 in which 2,000 nursing home residents were interviewed, found that 95 percent said they had observed a fellow resident being neglected or been neglected themselves, and 44 percent reported that they had been abused.

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