Who Is Liable When Nursing Home Abuse Occurs? - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Who Is Liable When Nursing Home Abuse Occurs?


The nursing home facilities people trust to provide house and care for senior family members who can no longer live on their own generally do an excellent job. The CBC reports that some nursing homes are not only failing to provide the level of care their residents are entitled to receive, but some of their staff members are engaging in abusive behaviours toward them. The CBC estimates that nursing home abuse has increased by more than 148 percent. Individuals subjected to nursing home abuse have recourse against the facility and its staff, including the right to compensation for the harm done to them.

Types of abuse

When someone a senior trusts and depends upon for care engages in behaviours putting the senior at risk of physical or emotional harm, it is considered to be elder abuse. Nursing home abuse is elder abuse engaged in by staff members in long-term care facilities.

There are several forms of abuse that can be directed against a nursing home resident, including:

  • Causing physical pain, discomfort or injury
  • Using words or conduct to engage in psychological or emotional abuse by causing the victim to suffer from a lack of self-worth, loss of dignity or a reduced sense of identity.
  • Sexual behaviours that are directed at a nursing home resident without the victim’s knowledge or consent.
  • Misusing money or other funds or taking personal items from a nursing home resident without the person’s permission or knowledge.

The daughter of a nursing home resident told a reporter of discovering her father being given a bath in cold water by a staff member. On another occasion, her father had a black eye, but no one at the nursing home could give her an explanation about how he got it.

Reporting nursing home abuse

It is common for the victims of nursing home abuse inflicted upon them by staff members to not report it to relatives who come to visit or to other members of the facility’s staff. One reason is that some nursing home residents might not be capable due to physical or mental impairment from communicating their complaint. Victims capable of communicating with others often are reluctant to report being abused for fear of retaliation by the offender.

Abuse may go unreported by residents who do not understand that the behaviours directed at them represent forms of abuse. This could be the case in situations where a caregiver is demeaning toward a resident or uses abusive language directed at the victim.

Laws in Ontario make it mandatory for anyone working at a long-term care facility to report acts of abuse or harm committed against a resident. The reporting requirement extends to all health care professions, including doctors, nurses and social workers. Confidentiality rules that would normally prevent doctors and others from disclosing patient information are waived when it comes to abuse of residents of nursing homes. Reports of nursing home abuse should be made to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Lawyers unite to make a difference for victims of nursing home abuse

Another option for victims of nursing home abuse and their families in need of help is the Nursing Home Action Coalition. It is made up of experienced, skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers dedicated to improving the care and treatment of residents of long-term care facilities throughout Canada. They review each case to determine the damages they can pursue, including pain and suffering, as compensation on behalf of nursing home abuse victims at the Extendicare, Leisurewold, Sienna and Revera nursing home facilities

Personal injury lawyers in Ontario

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of the victims of nursing home abuse. Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We have offices throughout Ontario to offer free consultations and case evaluations.

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