Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a problem that continues to grow. While greedy administrators and inhumane management are typically the cause of nursing home abuse, one of the key ingredients to the ongoing nature of these crimes is the fact that so many incidences go unreported. The National Center on Elder Abuse claims that for every one case of elder abuse that is reported, five go unreported. Many of these elderly victims feel trapped and afraid to report abuse because they fear what their attackers might do if they found out a report was made against them. It is important for nursing home residents and their loved ones to be made aware of the organizations and government agencies that are available for people who wish to report nursing home abuse.

When filing a report of nursing home abuse, one would want to seek the guidance of the appropriate local agency. Adult Protective Services (APS) and the Agency on Aging are two of the leading agencies that work with victims of nursing home abuse. Local Health, Law Enforcement, and Social Services Departments are also excellent outlets for reports of nursing home abuse. There are also smaller, localized, and nonprofit organizations such as the facilities responsible for approving a nursing home’s licensing and certification, offices of the Medical Examiner, and the Ombudsman, and local mental health officials. All of these groups are professionally trained organizations who will support and assist you through the difficult process of reporting nursing home abuse.

The Adult Protection Services

The APS is an agency created for the purpose of dealing with cases of elder abuse. The APS serves two functions; they investigate reports of abuse, and then offer treatment and protective services to those affected by the abuse. Every state has a hotline number that you can call to reach the APS. Your phone call will be screened, and if your report appears to be authentic, they will assign a case worker to investigate your claims. The APS Complaint Resolution Unit toll-free hotline number is 1-800-562-6078.

The Administration on Aging (AOA)

The AOA is dedicated to the cause of raising public awareness of elder abuse. This includes nursing home abuse, also known as institutionalized elder abuse. The Administration on Aging works with local law enforcement agencies and the medical community, educating them on how to recognize and react to elder abuse. The AOA is also a founder of the National Center on Elder Abuse, which provides education and training for elder abuse agencies. The NCEA also provides information to the public as well as a list of state APS hotline numbers.

Law Enforcement

Any time you might have a suspicion of abuse in general, the local law enforcement should become involved. The local police department as well as the local prosecutors should be made aware of the situation. They have the power to continue investigation and take actions against the accused. In fact, some states have passed laws making it illegal to not report suspected nursing home abuse.


The job of an ombudsman is to follow up on complaints made about nursing homes. The ombudsman will investigate and explore possible solutions to correct problems that are found. You may need to contact your local Administration on Aging office to find contact information for local ombudsman services.

It is vitally important that all cases of nursing home abuse are reported to the proper organizations and authorities. By reporting cases of nursing home abuse, one is not only protecting himself from further harm, but protecting the other residents in the building, as well. Since 1996, nursing home abuse has increased yearly. Both the federal and state governments have passed legislation to investigate reported abuse, sanction violators, and provide remedy for effected nursing homes. But this legislation can only work if reports are made. The best way to fight this plague of abuse and negligence is to report it.