» Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer (2023)

When you leave your loved one in a nursing home, you reasonably assume that the home will care for his or her mental and physical well-being. It can be hard to imagine abuse in nursing homes, but unfortunately it happens every day. OurAbuse in a Birmingham nursing homelawyers unfortunately know that some nursing home staff take advantage of frail elderly residents, making them victims of physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse in the state of Alabama, contact an experiencedBirmingham personal injury attorneyfor a free first legal consultation.

Understanding elder abuse in Birmingham

As many people age, they find that independent living becomes more of a challenge over time. Many older people develop medical conditions and other health problems late in life and may depend on a relative or family member to help them with everyday tasks. When those responsible for elder care use their position to harm the elderly they care for, they are elder abuse. All forms of abuse in nursing homes are elder abuse, but it is critical for Alabama seniors to understand that many cases of elder abuse occur among family members or outside of nursing homes.

Some adult children may care for their elderly parents and take advantage of the situation to manipulate or take advantage of them. Financial elder abuse is very common, especially for seniors with cognitive problems, memory impairment or other neurological conditions. A caregiver can take advantage of an older person in this vulnerable state and apply for credit cards in their name, steal money, or otherwise commit fraud using the older person's personal information.

An adult child who receives a power of attorney from an older parent or becomes a guardian can use the situation for personal gain. For example, refusing to honor a parent's last wish that the family home remain in the family line and instead put it up for sale can be elder abuse if it impairs the parent's quality of life or violates his or her wishes. Other family members can then intervene to prove that the executor or proxy abused, deceived or coerced the parent.

Many older people want to maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible and dread the thought of entering a nursing home. Family members are obliged to respect their wishes and act only in their best interest. Eventually, it may be necessary to enter a nursing home. Older adults with multiple health problems and limited self-sufficiency may require constant assistance and supervision for which their children may be too busy. When Alabama seniors enter assisted living or assisted living facilities, it is important that they and their families understand the different types of nursing home abuse and how to spot it.

Types of care home abuse common in Birmingham

People with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse because staff know that the resident may not remember the incident or people will not believe them if they do. Elderly people with significant wealth are at risk of financial abuse, where a nursing home employee can trick a resident into giving them money. Financial and physical abuse can go hand in hand if the employee threatens physical pain if the resident disobeys.

Physical abuse can range from refusing to feed or clean the resident to hitting the resident. Staff may become impatient with residents and push or jostle them around, leading tohe slips and fallsand other types of serious injuries and accidents. Staff may also be too rough with the resident by leaving fingerprints on the upper arms. Deliberately leaving a resident in a dirty adult diaper or similar situation is also abuse and can lead to painful pressure ulcers and infections.

Pressure ulcersare extremely painful injuries that can become life-threatening if left untreated. The constant pressure of staying in the same position for too long will cause blood to pool in the lower body and the skin will eventually break, creating a painful wound that is susceptible to infection. Neglect can lead to malnutrition, dehydration and vitamin deficiency. Elderly residents of nursing homes are likely to have pre-existing health problems, and these problems can seriously impair their quality of life or even threaten their lives.

Psychological abuse occurs when a staff member yells at, disrespects, embarrasses or verbally abuses a resident. The resident may suffer a lot from psychological abuse and be withdrawn from social activities. They may express feelings of fear, guilt or depression without any explanation. Psychological abuse can be difficult to detect. Paying attention to how employees talk to each other can indicate how they can talk to residents when no one is around. If they are rude or impatient, this can be a sign of psychological abuse.

Some nursing home employees have lost their jobs and faced severe legal penalties for belittling, deceiving and otherwise exploiting the residents in their care. Nursing home staff who mock residents on social media or carelessly disclose protected medical information could face finesHIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations and even criminal charges in some cases. Nursing home staff must perform their duties with respect and with the best interests of their patients in mind.

Signs of abuse in a Birmingham nursing home

The best way to detect nursing home abuse is to visit your loved one regularly. The more time you spend in the nursing home talking to your loved one, the more you will be able to detect suspicious activity.

Signs of physical abuse can include:

  • Unexplained injuries or hospital visits
  • Burns
  • Bruises on upper arms
  • Bruises under clothing where they would not otherwise be visible
  • Skin scratches from tight restraints
  • Scratches or bite marks

Psychological abuse can be harder to spot, but the more you visit your loved one, the easier it will be to spot. If your loved one has a sudden change in behavior or seems withdrawn, ask them what's wrong. Although it is easy to assume that your loved one's claims are caused by dementia orAlzheimer's disease– thoroughly investigate claims before writing them off.

You can find outfinancial abuselooking after your loved one's finances and wealth. Find out which bills are paid from the account each month and report unusual activity immediately. Never give out a loved one's financial information. Even family members can participate in financial abuse.

Signs of sexual abuse can range from physical evidence, such as bruises on the thighs or difficulty walking, to emotional changes. Watch for feelings of shame or guilt, pelvic injuries, or bloody underwear for signs of sexual abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse Resources in Birmingham

Name of organizationAddresstelephone number
UWAAA of Jefferson County3600 8th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222(205) 251-5131
Hoopersville Senior Center3901 4th Street West, Birmingham, AL 35207(205) 324-1302
Hopewell Senior Center4817 Jefferson Avenue SW, Birmingham, AL 35215(205) 925-2134 #115
New Hope Senior Center1310 7th Way SW, Birmingham, AL 35211(205) 925-0755
Spring Garden Seniorcenter201 Spring Garden Road, Birmingham, AL 35127(205) 841-5032 #108
Titusville Senior Center401 Omega Street, Birmingham, AL 35205(205) 566-1695
Alabama Department of Senior Services201 Monroe Street, Suite 350, Montgomery, AL 361041 (800) 243-5463

*Mitchell Law Firm, LLC does not officially endorse or recommend any of the above organizations

Get legal help from our nursing home abuse attorney in Birmingham

The moment you suspect abuse in a nursing home, report it to the authorities and remove your loved one from the facility. Then contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Birmingham, AL to file a formal complaint against the facility. The Mitchell Law Firm, LLC has experienced nursing home abuse attorneys who are dedicated to defending the rights of seniors in nursing homes throughout Birmingham and can initiate a full facility investigation.contact usfor legal assistance on behalf of your abused loved one.


What is the most common abuse in nursing homes? ›

Emotional abuse (also known as verbal or psychological abuse) occurs when someone insults a resident or uses threats to control them. It is the most commonly occurring of all the nursing home types of abuse. According to the WHO, over 32% of nursing home staff members said they emotionally abused residents.

What should you do if you suspect that a nursing center resident is being abused? ›

Calling 911 is the fastest way to take action if nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected. Calling 911 allows your loved one to get immediate medical attention. Additionally, police can start an investigation into the incident, through which they may hold the nursing home and its staff criminally accountable.

Why do you think abuse sometimes happens in nursing homes? ›

Providing long-term care for nursing home residents can be a high-stress job, and staff members may take their frustrations out on the residents. Understaffing, poor pay, and inadequate training are all causes of nursing home abuse on a staff level.

What are the 7 forms of abuse? ›

What are the ten different types of abuse?
  • Physical abuse.
  • Domestic violence or abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse.
  • Financial or material abuse.
  • Modern slavery.
  • Discriminatory abuse.
  • Organisational or institutional abuse.

What are the 5 forms of abuse? ›

There are different types of abuse:

Domestic violence – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called 'honour' based violence.

Can a nurse refuse to treat an abusive patient? ›

Federal law requires hospitals to admit anyone who comes to an emergency room seeking treatment. This means nurses must treat everyone, even if they have a history of violence against hospital staff.

What are examples of patient abuse? ›

Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints.

What happens if a nurse is accused of abuse? ›

If the investigation finds that the accusation is true, or likely to be true, his job is forever lost. In addition, nursing management will report him to the state board of nursing. A third legal concern for the nurse is a criminal charge if the accusation is found to be true.

What is an example of verbal abuse in a nursing home? ›

Yelling, shouting, or screaming at a resident. Making critical remarks to the resident. “Talking down” to a resident, or speaking to him or her like a child. Discussing the resident negatively with other residents or staff members.

What is an example of emotional abuse in the elderly? ›

Examples of emotional elder abuse include:

Intentionally causing long waits for food, medication, or basic care. Interfering with decision making. Making false accusations. Verbal aggression.

What is verbal abuse in a care home? ›

What Are Some Examples of Verbal Abuse? When a nursing staff member makes a statement that causes the resident to feel emotional pain, distress, or fear, it is an act of verbal abuse. Because staff has authority and power over the patient, the patient may not know how to respond or report the verbal abuse.

What are the five most crucial rights of the elderly? ›

Senior Rights
  • Right to be Free to Exercise Civil Rights Under the Law. ...
  • Right to Dignity and Respect. ...
  • Right to Designate a Guardian or Representative. ...
  • Right to be Free from Physical and Mental Abuse. ...
  • Right to Communicate and Complain Regarding Treatment, Care or Services. ...
  • Right to Privacy. ...
  • Right to Participation in Activities.

What is passive neglect? ›

Passive neglect – the failure by a caregiver to provide a person with the necessities of life including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, because of failure to understand the person's needs, lack of awareness of services to help meet needs, or lack of capacity to care for the person.

What is fiduciary abuse? ›

What is Fiduciary Abuse: This is a situation by which an individual who is legally responsible for managing another person's assets uses his or her power to benefit financially in an unethical or illegal manner. Fiduciary abuse can be done by anyone such as a financial advisor, power of attorney or family member.

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
May 23, 2017

What 3 types of abuse should always be reported? ›

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are some of the most known types of abuse: Physical abuse is when someone hurts another person's body.

What is the biggest form of abuse? ›

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse.

What is considered abuse by a nurse? ›

It includes physical, sexual, and psychological assaults.

What is nursing misconduct? ›

The main premise of nurse misconduct is when nurse violates ethical standards that they owe their patient which results in their patient's harm. If a patient is able to prove that the nurse breached the standard of care and diverted from the standard course of treatment, they will likely have a valid claim.

What to do if a patient is verbally abusive? ›

Responding to Abusive Patient Behavior
  1. Respect Personal Space. ...
  2. Be Aware of Your Own Body Position. ...
  3. Be Empathic to Others' Feelings. ...
  4. Keep Nonverbal Cues Nonthreatening. ...
  5. Ignore Challenging Questions. ...
  6. Set & Enforce Reasonable Limits. ...
  7. Allow Verbal Venting When Possible. ...
  8. Identify the Real Reason for the Behavior.
Mar 14, 2020

What is considered verbal abuse of a patient? ›

Verbal abuse, also known as emotional abuse, is a range of words or behaviors used to manipulate, intimidate, and maintain power and control over someone. These include insults, humiliation and ridicule, the silent treatment, and attempts to scare, isolate, and control.

What is patient harassment? ›

In a patient harassment case, an employee must show the employer knew, or should have known, about the hostile work environment created by the patient, but failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective measures.

What is the legal definition of patient abuse? ›

(1) Abuse. – The willful or culpably negligent infliction of physical injury or the willful or culpably negligent violation of any law designed for the health or welfare of a patient or resident. (2) Culpably negligent. – Conduct of a willful, gross, and flagrant character, evincing reckless disregard of human life.

What is the most common charges brought against nurses? ›

What are the most common charges brought against nurses ? substance abuse, incompetence, and negligence. It is considered negligence not to report another professional's misconduct. What may result when a nurse is found guilty of professional misconduct?

What offense can this nurse be held liable for? ›

Nurses can also be held legally liable for negligence, malpractice, or breach of patient confidentiality when providing patient care.

What are the most common allegations of nursing malpractice? ›

Four common examples of nursing malpractice include failure to monitor, medication errors, mistakes with routine procedures, and documentation errors. Each of these instances of potential malpractice may lead to patient injury, disease, and even death.

What are five examples of verbal abuse? ›

Common verbal abuse signs may include any of the below.
  • Name-calling. Excessively using insults or calling someone names is an example of abusive behavior. ...
  • Criticizing and judging. ...
  • Degrading. ...
  • Threatening. ...
  • Screaming/yelling. ...
  • Gaslighting. ...
  • Manipulating.
Oct 3, 2022

What are 7 consequences of verbal abuse? ›

The psychological effects of verbal abuse include: fear and anxiety, depression, stress and PTSD, intrusive memories, memory gap disorders, sleep or eating problems, hyper-vigilance and exaggerated startle responses, irritability, anger issues, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, self-harm, and assaultive behaviors.

What are some words for verbal abuse? ›

Words Related To verbal abuse
  • abuse.
  • bad-mouthing.
  • berating.
  • billingsgate.
  • blame.
  • castigation.
  • censure.
  • contumely.

What are red flags for elder abuse? ›

Some of the Red Flag warning signs of physical abuse may include inadequately explained fractures, bruises, cuts or burns. Red Flag warning signs of psychological abuse may include the isolation of an elder or actions by a caregiver that are verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling behavior or neglect.

What are 4 examples of emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse includes:
  • humiliating or constantly criticising a child.
  • threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names.
  • making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child.
  • blaming and scapegoating.
  • making a child perform degrading acts.

What are signs of psychological abuse in the elderly? ›

Signs of emotional (or psychological) abuse include:
  • fear.
  • depression or low mood.
  • confusion.
  • loneliness.
  • feeling of helplessness.

Does verbal abuse stand in court? ›

Yes, verbal abuse can be considered harassment. And you may be able to pursue legal action, depending on the severity of the situation.

Does verbal abuse need to be reported? ›

While verbal abuse is not a crime in and of itself, it can easily turn into one if it includes threats of bodily harm. If the verbal abuse is criminal, you must immediately report it to the authorities and inform them if you are concerned about your safety.

What are examples of emotional abuse in a care home? ›

Yelling, shouting, and screaming. Threatening and pretending to harm the patient. Intimidation. Name-calling, insulting, and ridiculing the patient.

What is one of the two most common types of abuse in care? ›

Neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse, which includes self-neglect and abandonment. Emotional abuse is also common, but is the most difficult type of nursing home abuse to prove. These are just two of the six types of elder abuse that occur in nursing homes.

Which type of elder abuse is most common? ›

Emotional abuse is the most common type of elder abuse, according to data from the World Health organization (WHO). The WHO found that one out of three of nursing home residents or their families reported cases of emotional nursing home abuse.

WHO are the most frequent abusers of the elderly? ›

In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

What is the most common type of abuse? ›

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse. Physical abuse may include beating, shaking, burning, and biting. The threshold for defining corporal punishment as abuse is unclear. Rib fractures are found to be the most common finding associated with physical abuse.

What is the 2nd most common form of elder abuse? ›

Psychological abuse is the second most common form of elder abuse after neglect. It often consists of purposeful verbal or nonverbal infliction of emotional or mental anguish.

What are the four main abuses? ›

There are four main categories of child abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Find out more about each below, as well as the warning signs that a child may be being abused.

What are the 6 forms of abuse and briefly explain? ›

Abuse refers to harmful or injurious treatment of another human being that may include physical, sexual, verbal, psychological/emotional, intellectual, or spiritual maltreatment.

What age is considered elderly? ›

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an “older adult” as someone who is at least 60 years old. Many states may also have different definitions of “elderly” when determining what resources are available in cases of elder abuse, although most states commonly use 65 years of age as the cut-off.

What is the fastest growing form of elder abuse? ›

Financial fraud is the fastest-growing form of elder abuse. Broadly defined, financial elder abuse is when someone illegally or improperly uses a vulnerable senior's money or other property.

Which type of abuse is the most unreported? ›

The U.S. Justice Department notes that caregiver neglect is the most unreported type of abuse, with 1 out of every 57 cases being reported. Neglect is also one of the most common types of elder abuse.

What is the most painful type of abuse? ›

Emotional abuse may be the most damaging form of maltreatment due to causing damage to a child's developing brain affecting their emotional and physical health as well as their social and cognitive development (Heim et al.

Which are the 3 main warning signs that someone may be an abuser? ›

Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
  • Controlling Behavior. Constantly questions who you spend your time with, what you did/wore/said, where you went. ...
  • Quick Involvement. ...
  • Unrealistic Expectations. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Blames Others for Problems. ...
  • Blames Others for Feelings. ...
  • Hypersensitivity. ...
  • Disrespectful or Cruel to Others.

What is the number one cause of abuse? ›

The major reasons for physical and psychological maltreatment of children within the family often are a parent's feelings of isolation, stress, and frustration.


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