Americans are living longer today than in the past, which means that many families are forced to place a loved one under the care of a nursing home. Unfortunately, not all residents receive the care they deserve at nursing homes. Some residents are not sufficiently fed or cleaned, and some are subject to serious abuse, including starvation and sexual abuse. In addition, due to age and/or mental impairments, nursing home residents often are unable to report abuse.
Many nursing home cases result from negligent care of residents, but some cases arise from intentional abuse from staff. In cases in which a person acts with the intent to cause harmful or offensive contact with another person, and contact results, it constitutes battery. Assault also results in most cases, which arises from the person’s apprehension of imminent contact. In cases of intentional abuse from a nursing home staff member, assault and battery can often easily be established with the right evidence. However, it can be difficult to prove abuse in nursing home cases, because the abuse usually occurs outside the presence of independent witnesses, and residents are often developmentally impaired and cannot explain what occurred.