How to protect nursing home residents and report suspected abuse or neglect

Posted at 4:26 AM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 04:35:55-04

Most people living in nursing homes receive quality care, but sometimes seniors are neglected or abused.

Abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of injury or pain. It includes (but is not limited to) physical, mental, verbal, psychological, sexual, unreasonable seclusion, and intimidation abuse.

Neglect of a senior occurs when that senior cannot maintain their health or welfare on their own or when a caregiver deprives the senior of services to maintain their well-being.

If you suspect neglect, abuse or exploitation you are asked to report it to authorities.

Documenting the suspected abuse is importance for authorities or law enforcement to take action. Take photos, write down the name and age of the victim, your relationship to the victim, the name and address of the facility, the date, times and locations of the incident, the description of the incident or nature of the abuse, the name of the caretaker involved and any witnesses who saw the abuse.

You can file a complaint with Florida Agency for Health Care Administration by calling (888) 419-3456 or filling out an online form at

Nursing home staff is required by law to make timely and accurate entries of any care or treatment given in a patient’s record. Family members are allowed to request to see the documentation is being done. Make note in your complaint if a nursing home refuses to let you view a patient's record.

If you suspect someone living in a nursing home is in immediate danger you can report elder abuse to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs by calling their toll-free 24-hour hotline at 800-96-ABUSE.