elderly man in nursing home

What Are the Most Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Updated January 9, 2024.

Identifying signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can be challenging. That said, recognizing these signs early on is crucial for the well-being of your loved ones. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Rochester nursing home abuse lawyer from Lacy Katzen LLP to learn more about the most common signs of nursing home abuse to look out for and contact us if you believe your loved one is a victim. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Are the Physical Indicators of Neglect and Abuse?

Physical abuse in nursing homes is a grave concern. Unexplained bruises or injuries are clear red flags. Broken bones, bruises, cuts or burns, especially without a clear explanation, warrant immediate investigation. Bedsores, often a result of neglect, indicate a lack of proper care.

Weight loss, which can result from dehydration, emotional distress or neglect in feeding, is another indicator of potential neglect or abuse.

Can Emotional and Behavioral Changes Signal Abuse?

Yes, withdrawal from social interactions or a sudden change in behavior can signal something is amiss. Look out for signs of depression or anxiety, as these can be responses to abuse.

What Conduct by Nursing Home Staff Indicates Potential Abuse?

The conduct of nursing home staff can indicate whether your loved one is receiving poor care. Are bed alarms, call bells, and requests for assistance toileting ignored for extended periods of time? Do staff complain to you that the nursing home is “understaffed”? Do you find your loved one unwashed, in dirty clothes, with unbrushed teeth or sitting in urine or feces? These observations should be reported to a charge nurse or to the nursing home’s administration because they can indicate neglect and abuse.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Overall, a brief outline of some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect is as follows:

  • Unexplained Injuries: Fractures, bruises, cuts, or burns that have no satisfactory explanation.
  • Changes in Behavior: Sudden, uncharacteristic mood swings or withdrawal from social activities.
  • Poor Hygiene: Neglected personal hygiene or dirty living conditions.
  • Emotional Distress: Signs of fear, anxiety, or depression without an apparent cause.
  • Unattended Medical Needs: Ignored or improperly treated health issues.
  • Financial Exploitation: Unexplained bank withdrawals or changes in financial documents.
  • Malnutrition or Dehydration: Sudden weight loss, dry skin, or other signs of neglect.
  • Overmedication: Excessive sleepiness or other changes that suggest inappropriate medication use.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Abuse?

If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it’s imperative to act immediately. Documenting any signs of abuse or neglect and speaking to the facility’s management is a first step. Based on your loved one’s condition, it may be necessary to call 911 or request the individual be taken to a hospital for emergency medical care.

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases is also critical. Our firm can help ensure the safety and rights of your loved one are protected.

The well-being of our elderly loved ones in nursing homes is of utmost importance. Recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect can protect them from further harm. If you’re concerned about a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact Lacy Katzen LLP for help today.


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