If you or a loved one has felt mistreated in an elderly care facility, you may be wondering – what is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is when an elderly person’s physician, nurse, medical professional, or other care professional acts negligently or carelessly, causing harm. When an elderly person experiences abuse in a nursing home or similar facility, they may be entitled to compensation. 

An elderly loved one can experience many types of abuse in a nursing home, and the severity of the abuse can vary from case to case. Such abuse can cause physical injuries, emotional trauma, and more. In the worst cases, abuse leads to their death. 

Need help with an elder abuse case? A leading West Palm Beach elder abuse attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath is here to answer your questions and help you plan your best path forward. 

We are waiting to hear from you – schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at 561-655-1990 or send us a message.

Federal Laws Surrounding Elder Abuse

Care standards in elderly care facilities are held in the United States federal law in 42 U.S. Code § 1395i–3. The code defines the requirements and standards for skilled nursing facilities to assure quality of care for their residents. Additionally, 42 U.S.C. 1395i-3a reviews how the government protects residents of long-term care facilities through performance reviews, resources, investigations, surveys, and more. 

When an elderly care facility violates long-term care facility standards and causes harm and actual damage, a legal claim can be filed, and the victim may be entitled to significant compensation.

Common Types of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes & Other Long-Term Care Facilities

In some cases, elder abuse can be hard to prove, but in other cases, it is clear that an elderly person’s doctor or other care professional caused clear harm. Elder abuse can be everything from neglect or abandonment to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and more. 

If any of these are the case for your loved one, you may consider filing a legal claim to collect compensation for emotional, physical, and other related damages.


When care standards are not met, it is considered neglect. The severity of neglect varies widely, but many times, an elderly loved one’s hygiene, mobility, or nutrition suffers. When an elderly person isn’t properly cared for in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, they experience emotional distress, become injured, or develop a medical disorder.

Nursing home neglect may be due to an understaffed facility, not meeting cleaning and other maintenance standards, or something similar.  


Abandonment is similar to neglect in that it happens when staff members fail to meet known care standards. Staff members are not as present as they should be or not present at all, and an elderly loved one is not getting the care and attention that he or she should receive. Sometimes, medications are forgotten or staff members are unresponsive to bed calls.

Abandonment can be difficult to detect. However, when an elderly person is not being turned over in bed within an adequate amount of time, it can lead to bedsores. Having bedsores is one sign that can help you determine whether or not abandonment is harming your loved one.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse in a nursing home manifests itself in a number of ways. Physical abuse in elderly people can constitute any type of physical pain, including pain from malnourishment due to neglect or even pain from being struck or pushed. Physical abuse can cause serious injury, illness, and more.

Psychological Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse can harm a loved one in a nursing home. This type of abuse can include both verbal and nonverbal abuse, such as threatening, scaring, yelling, humiliating, and more. An elderly loved one can experience serious mental trauma from this type of elder abuse.

Financial Abuse

Some elderly loved ones in long-term care facilities experience financial exploitation or financial abuse. This happens when a member of the care facility’s staff manipulates the elderly person into signing checks or financial documents, or a staff member may use the elderly person’s account for their own personal expenses and purchases. The elderly person may not even know that their money is being taken.

Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, some elderly loved ones become victims of sexual abuse. According to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-term Care, sexual abuse in nursing homes can include:

  • Unwanted intimate touching
  • Rape, oral, or anal sex
  • Forced nudity
  • Forced watching of pornography or masturbation
  • Sexually explicit photographs, audio, or videos

Elderly people who’ve been victims of sexual abuse can experience a wide range of trauma, including mental and physical pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, and more. These types of cases can be extremely difficult, but a renowned Boca Raton elder abuse attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath is ready to guide you throughout the process and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses.

Get Help with Your Elder Abuse Claim

What is elder abuse? It’s when a long-term care facility breaks your family’s trust – don’t let them get away with that. Meet with one of Florida’s top elder abuse attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath and get your case analyzed by one of the most recognized and respected plaintiff’s law firms in the United States. We have an in-house team of more than 70 professionals ready to support you through it all.

Get help now by calling 561-655-1990 or send our team a message now to tell us more about your case today.

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