1.7. Abuse and neglect


  • • Physical abuse.
  • • Sexual abuse.
  • • Verbal abuse.
  • • Emotional abuse. (Threats, humiliation).
  • • Involuntary seclusion.
  • • Financial abuse.


How do you recognize signs of abuse and neglect?

Unfortunately, we occasionally read about or hear news reports of abuse and neglect Occurring in personal homes or facilities. Clients, client’s family members may abuse one another, staff.

May abuse clients or clients may abuse staff. By law, signs of abuse and neglect are to be reported. Therefore, you must become knowledgeable about this topic. Abuse can be physical or emotional. Some examples of abuse are:

  • • Pushing, hitting or shaking.
  • • Pulling hair or ear.
  • • Tying a client to a bed or chair.
  • • Locking a client in a room.
  • • A staff person engaging in any sexual contact with a resident.
  • • Giving too much medicine on purpose.
  • • Yelling at or threatening with words.
  • • Harassing a person.
  • • Using ethnic slurs.
  • • Sexual harassment.
  • • Rape.
  • • Attempted rape.
  • • Sexual assault.
  • • Threatening to make a person leave the home.


Another form of abuse is “financial abuse.” This involves taking property or money from a client or encouraging a client to hand over his/her assets. Clients have the right to protection of their money and property. Neglect is the failure to provide the necessary care that results in harm to the client.


Examples of neglect include:
  • • Leaving a group of aggressive clients unsupervised;
  • • A direct care staff person falling asleep while on duty;
  • • Delaying the normal scheduling of routine medical or dental visits for health maintenance;
  • • Isolating a client in their room;
  • • Leaving a client unattended by staff for long periods of time;
  • • Failing to seek medical help when a client shows symptoms of injury or illness, or if a    client complains of pain;
  • • Delaying assistance with activities of daily living, such as failure to help a client with toileting and causing the client to soil himself/herself.


Neglect and abuse occurrence are reportable.
        What should you do if you see abuse or neglect?

You should ask your supervisor what the facility’s procedures are to report suspected abuse or neglect. It is not your responsibility to investigate or confirm the suspected abuse or neglect—only to report what you see. When reporting to your supervisor, it is important to be “objective.” State only what you see or hear, not your interpretation of what you see or what you assume is happening, which is “subjective” information. In other words, just state the facts.