Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana


Laura Schaefer

Like many places in America, the Bayou State Louisiana’s elderly population continues to grow at an accelerating rate. In fact, about 17% of Louisiana residents are aged 65 or older. This unfortunately leads to nursing home abuse in Louisiana that cascades as more residents move into this age group.

IMPORTANT: Louisiana’s nursing homes were recently ranked 43rd in the United States due to the state’s poor staffing levels. Key indicators of nursing home abuse like bedsores and falls are higher than average in Louisiana long-term care facilities.

If you or a loved one was abused or neglected in a Louisiana nursing home, speak with a nursing home neglect attorney. Your loved one deserves a settlement payment for the suffering they endured.

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Louisiana Nursing Home Resident Rights

The Louisiana Revised Statutes protect residents from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by outlining residents’ rights to dignity, respect, and freedom. The Health Standards Section of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) licenses nursing facilities in the state.

Louisiana nursing home residents also have additional rights provided by state Law (LA Rev Stat § 40:2010.8). Among this list are:

  • The right to “private and uncensored communications”, allowing residents to talk, call, or take letters from other residents and visitors with no interruptions.
  • Reporting violations to nursing home staff or government officials to change policy within their Louisiana nursing home facility. They may not be retaliated against for this action.
  • The residents’ right to pick their own physician for medical treatment.
  • The right to be free from abuse or neglect as well as forceful physical or chemical restraint.

IMPORTANT: Citizens who witness abuse are required by Louisiana’s Adult Protective Services Reporting Law, La. Stat. tit. 14 § 403.2, to notify authorities about abuse, neglect, exploitation, and extortion of disabled individuals.

If your loved one’s resident rights were violated, report the situation to upper management so they can resolve the issue. If conditions refuse to change and your loved one is still facing abuse, seek legal representation with a Louisiana nursing home abuse attorney.

How to Define Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana

Louisiana defines nursing home abuse as actions that inflict physical or mental harm to residents. Examples of such actions may include:

Louisiana’s definition of nursing home abuse includes actions that any reasonable person would deem harmful to another person. A nursing home attorney can determine whether your loved one qualifies for a legal claim through a free consultation.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

Nursing home physical abuse includes actions inducing any type of physical injury or harm. This may include bed sores, injury from a restraint, or a bruise from rough handling.

Emotional abuse includes behavior or talk from care providers that deliberately upsets or confuses nursing home residents. Verbal harassment, isolation, and psychological manipulation are forms of emotional abuse that occur in nursing homes in Louisiana.


Nursing home neglect is often not intentional, but still causes extreme harm to nursing home residents not taken care of. Withholding basic care and human interaction to residents is a form of nursing home neglect.

Common examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Isolating mentally-impaired residents
  • Letting residents remain in bed too long, leading to bedsores
  • Failing to provide walkers and wheelchairs to those with mobility issues
  • Forgetting to give medication to residents

Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home neglect differs from abuse because neglect is caused by careless or apathetic behavior, whereas abuse stems from deliberate harm. A lack of trained employees may increase nursing home neglect due to an increasing unmet demand for nursing home care.

  • Neglect is failure to provide adequate care or nutrition and often involves hygiene concerns or improper medication handling.
  • Abuse is defined as intentional physical harm, or mistreatment causing distress.

The main difference? Intent. Neglect occurs when a staff member fails to take actions that they should take. Abuse is intentional. It comes from direct action. Both are inexcusable under Louisiana nursing home law.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana

Nursing home abuse is common due to ongoing staffing issues in the nursing home industry throughout the United States. Generally, a mixture of negligence in hiring staff, failure to investigate complaints, failure to properly train new staff after turnover, and a culture of allowing for corner cutting can lead to abuse.

Nursing home administrators need to properly screen all staffing applicants and check their criminal records to ensure they will not pose a risk to residents, current and future. If they do not do so and abuse occurs, owners must be taken to court.

How to Detect Early Signs of Abuse

Abuse allegations can be complicated to prove thanks to the presence of cognitive disorders in elderly care residents. Even so, if you see a change in behavior from your loved one, it can be a warning sign of nursing home neglect or abuse.

It can be difficult for family members to figure out what has happened, which also makes elderly patients particularly vulnerable to abuse. Families must be especially vigilant when their loved one suffers from a cognitive disorder.

Notice if your loved one shows the following early signs:

  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Visible bruises or abrasions on their skin
  • Signs of dehydration or malnutrition
  • Changing sleep habits
  • Mild to severe signs of depression
  • Noticeably less eye contact
  • Fearfulness, timidity
  • More than normal isolation from family and friends
  • Repeated injuries requiring visits to the emergency room

Nursing home staff may threaten further harm if residents retaliate against their abusers. This may dissuade your loved one from telling others about their condition, preventing the authorities from changing the situation.

Preventing Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana

Prevent abuse in Louisiana by being attentive to your loved one’s condition, wellbeing, and demeanor. If you suspect something is “off,” ask questions and determine the cause as quickly as possible.

Finally, if abuse or neglect did occur, reach out to an attorney in Louisiana who specializes in nursing home abuse cases. Sometimes the only way to prevent future abuse is to take legal action.

Reassure your loved one that any retaliation against their nursing home resident rights is illegal. There are state and federal protections in place that can protect them from harm if they report the situation to the correct authorities.

Schedule a free consultation to see if you qualify for a legal claim, covering the damages your loved one undeservedly suffered.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana

Do not hesitate to call 911 if you feel your loved one is in immediate danger and requires medical assistance. You may also call the Louisiana local sheriff’s department to help assist with the situation.

If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, and your loved one lives in a licensed Louisiana nursing home, you can reach the LDH’s HSS Nursing Home Abuse Hotline. Another option is to fill out an official complaint form and submit it to Health Standards Section.

Louisiana Ombudsman

The Louisiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman investigates complaints made on behalf of nursing home residents and facilities that serve the elderly. Ombudsman staff also assist consumers and potential consumers with the process of choosing a facility.

Louisiana Ombudsman workers seek to protect nursing home resident rights for all who live in a long-term care facility. They hold the authority to investigate claims of abuse and can resolve issues, even receiving complaints anonymously.

Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

If you decide to take legal action against a nursing home, you should know the types of damages you’re owed. There are three types of damages you should consider when dealing with nursing home abuse:

You need as much evidence as possible to prove your damages resulted from negligent practices. Evidence like eyewitness reports can prove invaluable to your attorney during your free consultation.

Economic Damages

These are measurable amounts of money your family had to spend to remedy the abuse or neglect, including medical bills, the cost to relocate your loved one to a new facility, physical therapy session costs, and mental health treatment.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages account for non-tangible forms of loss like pain and suffering and emotional distress. These types of damages are often capped. In Louisiana, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages awarded to family members in nursing home abuse or neglect cases.

Punitive Damages

These damages are designed to punish egregious wrongdoing or negligence. Punitive damages are limited by the total $500,000 cap in the state of Louisiana.

Louisiana Statute of Limitations

Louisiana nursing home complaints sometimes turn into legal action. However, you must file within a set statute of limitations from the time the abuse occurred. In Louisiana, the limit is just one year.

Find a Louisiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer With LegalASAP

To locate a Louisiana nursing home attorney, LegalASAP’s attorney network of 500+ law firms can connect you with an experienced advocate. Our network attorneys in New Orleans or your local region in Louisiana may consult with you for free about your case.

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and