Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse and Substance Abuse


When you hear about nursing home abuse, you may think about an elderly patient being physically abused or neglected. While physical abuse and neglect are common in nursing homes, they are not the only forms of abuse. Nursing home abuse includes many forms of physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Furthermore, some nursing home patients are not elderly. A story reported by The Boston Globe earlier this month is an example of how nursing home abuse can take many forms.

Substance Abuse in Massachusetts Nursing Homes

A 43-year old man entered Braemoor Health Center last summer to learn how to walk again following the amputation of his lower leg due to massive infections. He was a recovering heroin addict. He died just three days after he was released from the nursing home from an opioid overdose. According to his family, during the seven months he was in the nursing home, he received increasing doses of opioid medications without receiving substance abuse counseling.

Braemoor is one of at least two nursing homes in Massachusetts that have been cited by state inspectors for serious violations. The violations include a lack of substance abuse treatment and staff training. According to specialists, the number of patients with substance abuse issues in nursing homes is expected to grow as baby boomers reach an age where they need nursing home care. A report by the Office of the Inspector General found that millions of elderly Americans on Medicare are prescribed medications containing commonly abused opioids.

The Massachusetts Health Department said it is “finalizing written treatment guidelines to assist nursing homes in caring for those suffering from substance misuse.” In addition, the Health Department has trained inspectors regarding the abuse of drugs in nursing homes. Unfortunately, this action by the state is too late for the man who died after being discharged from Braemoor. According to his family, they questioned the use of narcotics and asked for assistance when he was discharged. They were told to simply go to the emergency room.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions a family can face. The fear of nursing home abuse is real. One report revealed elderly abuse in one out of every three nursing homes. It is estimated that one in ten Americans over the age of 60 years has been the victim of some type of elder abuse. Because the risk of nursing home abuse is so great, it is important for families to know the signs of nursing home abuse.

Some of the signs of abuse you want to look for when visiting your loved one are:

  • Dehydration
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Bed sores
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Fear of staff
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Welts, abrasions, and cuts
  • Lack of cleanliness

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more information about elder abuse and the warning signs of nursing home abuse on its website.

Do You Need A Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, take action now. Contact our office to meet with a Massachusetts nursing home abuse attorney. You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit to hold the nursing home responsible for the abuse. We want to help you seek justice for your loved one.

Contact Tapalian Law by calling


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