Nursing Home Abuse in Montana


Laura Schaefer

Known as “Big Sky Country,” Montana is growing at a rate of over 13% since 2010, with its 65+ group the fastest growing demographic. Between 2010 and 2022, the elderly population increased by 52.7%. Due to the increase in the senior population, as well as gaps in care for senior citizens across the country, nursing home abuse in Montana is a serious issue.

A recent inspection here listed 42 failures of compliance at state-run nursing homes. Former employees blamed cost cutting as the cause. If you or a loved one was abused or neglected in a Montana nursing home, speak with a Montana nursing home neglect attorney. Your loved one deserves a settlement payment for the suffering they endured due to abuse or neglect.

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What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse refers to any form of mistreatment or neglect inflicted upon elderly residents in long-term care facilities. This abuse can take various forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or even neglectful acts. Nursing home abuse not only violates the rights and dignity of vulnerable seniors but also poses serious physical and psychological risks to their well-being. Detecting and addressing such abuse is the responsibility of the nursing home and requires vigilance, advocacy, and robust regulatory measures within the healthcare system.

Nursing Home Resident Rights in Montana

According to Montana elder care laws, “A resident has the right to be free from verbal, mental, and physical abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Facility staff shall report to the department and the long-term care ombudsman any suspected incidents of abuse under the Montana Vulnerable Adult Prevention of Abuse Act, Title 52, chapter 3, part 8.

“Each resident has the right to privacy in the resident’s room or portion of the room. If a resident is seeking privacy in the resident’s room, staff members should make reasonable efforts to make their presence known when entering the room.”

Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Montana: Montana State Law

  • Physical Abuse: This is any type of physical injury or harm including the presence of bed sores, injury from a restraint, or a bruise from rough handling.
  • Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse against elders includes behavior or talk on the part of care providers deliberately intended to upset or confuse the nursing home resident. Verbal harassment, isolation, and psychological manipulation are forms of emotional abuse that occur in nursing homes in Montana.
  • Financial Abuse: Nursing home financial abuse is improper access to, manipulation, or control of a nursing home residents’ valuables, accounts, insurance policies, or will.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any unwanted touching or sexual contact.
  • Neglect: 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 resident remain in bed too long (which leads to sores), failing to provide walkers and wheelchairs to those with mobility issues, and forgetting to give medication to residents. Nursing home neglect differs from abuse because neglect is caused by careless or apathetic behavior, whereas abuse stems from deliberate harm.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Montana

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
If you see a change in the behavior or personality in your loved one at a Montana nursing home or assisted living facility, it can be a warning sign of nursing home neglect or abuse. Abuse allegations can be complicated to prove thanks to the presence of cognitive disorders in older Americans.

It is often difficult for family members to figure out what has happened, which also makes these 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:

  • rapidly lost weight
  • visible bruises or abrasions on their skin
  • dehydration or malnutrition
  • changing sleep or personal habits
  • depression
  • noticeably less eye contact
  • fearfulness, timidity
  • more than normal isolation from family and friends
  • repeated injuries requiring visits to emergency rooms

Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Montana

Nursing home abuse is sadly 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, 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, they must be held to account. In fact, nationally, more than half of nursing staff in nursing homes leave their job within a year (53.9% turnover rate). The rate is above the average in Montana, at 63.2%.

Resources to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Montana: The Montana Ombudsman

The Long Term Care Ombudsman program (LTCO) works on behalf of residents in long term care facilities and Assisted Living facilities. Montana currently has over 350 Long-Term care living options. In Montana, the Area Agencies on Aging or the County Council on Aging employ over 30 certified Ombudsman throughout the state. A trained Ombudsman can help with issues like:

  • Resolving problems or complaints
  • Speak on your behalf to agencies to seek remedies
  • Help you learn about resident rights and good care practices
  • Advocate for changes to improve your quality of life and care
  • Look into claims of physical, verbal or emotional abuse

For more information, please contact:

  • The State Long Term Care Ombudsman
    Office on Aging, Senior and Long Term Care Division
    (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911)
  • Your Regional or Local Ombudsman
    Area Agency on Aging
    1-800-551-3191 (Note: This Help Line is only available during normal business hours. For all emergencies, call 911.)

Types of Damages for Nursing Home Abuse in Montana

Types of Elder Abuse in Montana: Damages

  • Economic damages: These are measurable amounts of money your family had to spend to remedy the abuse or neglect, including medical care, the cost to relocate the patient to a new facility, physical therapy, mental health treatment.
  • Noneconomic damages: These include things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. These types of damages are capped at $250,000 per Montana Code Annotated § 25-9-411.
  • Punitive Damages: These damages are designed to punish egregious wrongdoing or negligence. In Montana, these damages are capped at the lesser of  $10 million or 3% of a defendant’s net worth per Montana Code § 27-1-221.

Montana Statute of Limitations for Elder Abuse

The statute of limitation is three years in Montana. If your loved one has experienced abuse or neglect in a Montana nursing home, however, file your case as soon as possible before evidence disappears or is forgotten.

LegalASAP Can Help You Find a Montana Nursing Home Attorney

To locate an attorney to represent you in your Montana nursing home abuse case, LegalASAP’s attorney network of 500+ law firms can connect you with an experienced advocate in Montana to consult with you for free about your case.

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author ofThe Teashop Girls,The Secret Ingredient, andLittler 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