What's the Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

What's the Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect? | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Nursing home neglectNursing homes have had a poor reputation for years. Before regulations were enacted by state and federal governments, nursing homes were allowed to prioritize profit over the well-being of the individuals trusted to their care. While nursing home abuse and neglect are still present in nursing homes, they have become much less prevalent. Those who have family members in such facilities should take care to look for the signs of abuse and neglect.


There are two types of neglect your loved one could experience—active or passive. The difference between the two is intent. Active neglect is the intentional failure of nursing home staff to take care of a patient while passive neglect is an unintentional failure. Passive neglect usually results from understaffed facilities. Neglect can include the following:

  • Failing to meet social, physical, or emotional needs
  • Failing to maintain a patient’s hygiene
  • Ignoring calls for assistance

Both types of neglect can be detected through various red flags, including poor hygiene, bed sores, weight loss, or other signs of malnourishment. If your loved one is experiencing an unusual chronic illness that wasn’t present prior to living in a nursing home, the staff might have given him or her the incorrect medication.


Abuse is deliberate neglect that leads directly to a patient’s harm. There are four main types of nursing home abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation. Sexual abuse and physical abuse will have the most visible signs, including bruising, blood on clothing, and lacerations. Emotional abuse and financial exploitation, however, are harder to detect. Abuse could include beating or berating the elderly individual, threatening them with harm, or asking for the patient’s credit card information. If your loved one has been abused in particular, you should call the police as soon as you suspect it. Not only can you seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries, but the person responsible has committed a crime and should face criminal charges.

If you think a loved one is suffering either neglect or abuse, take action immediately. The elderly are some of the most vulnerable members of American society, and caretakers who are abusing their positions of powers should be held accountable for their actions. Contact one of our skilled Chicago nursing home injuries attorneys about your case. The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are dedicated to helping the victims of personal injury seek compensation and justice for their injuries. We have more than 50 years of collective legal experience to offer you and your loved ones, and we can travel nationwide to provide reliable advocacy.

Talk to us about your case today! Call us at (800) 794-0444 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.