The Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Network

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Almost 1/3 of U.S. nursing homes were cited for abuse between 1999 and 2001

There are many things that can indicate abuse or neglect in a nursing home. You should keep an eye out for anything unusual, especially unexplained physical marks such as bruises or fractures. Any noticeable change in your loved one’s behavior or personality can be a signal that he or she is being mistreated. Remember, many times elderly people may be too embarrassed or ashamed to speak about their abuse. To keep your family member safe, you need to get involved and ask questions. Below are a few lists of common warning signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:


General Warning Signs

  • Bed/pressure sores
  • Low self-esteem/depression
  • Use of physical or chemical restraints
  • Use of unauthorized medication
  • Bruising or fractures
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Frequent illness/failure to report illness
  • Unexplained or unexpected death of resident
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Failure of staff to report any changes in condition
  • Serious injury requiring hospitalization
  • Dirty living quarters, odors
  • Lack of privacy
  • Loneliness or Inactivity
  • Unanswered calls for help

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Battery
  • Rape
  • Unreasonable physical restraint
  • Prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water
  • Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication for any purpose not consistent with that authorized by the physician
  • Giving too much medication
  • Not giving needed medication
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Caretaker cannot adequately explain condition
  • Open wounds, cuts, bruises or welts
  • Elder reports of being slapped or mistreated
  • Slapping, pushing, shaking, beating
  • Forcing an older person to stay in a room
  • Heavy medication or sedation
  • Any incident involving broken bones, especially a fractured hip
  • Injuries requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization
  • Any injury or death occurring during or shortly after an episode of wandering (including outside the facility) when the staff is not aware that the resident is missing for some period of time
  • Bruises, especially in clusters or regular patterns in areas such as the neck or groin
  • Black eyes, welts, lacerations, rope marks, bone fractures, broken bones, skull fractures, open wounds, cuts, punctures and untreated injuries in various stages of healing;
  • Burns (commonly on soles, palms, or buttocks);
  • Laboratory evidence of medication overdose or failure to administer prescribed drugs;
  • An elder’s sudden withdrawn behavior, or the refusal of the caretaker to allow visitors to see the elder alone.

Signs of Neglect

  • Physical neglect: disregard for the necessities of daily living
  • Medical neglect: lack of care for existing medical problems
  • Failure to prevent dehydration, malnutrition, and bed sores
  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter
  • Unsanitary and unclean conditions
  • Infections
  • Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
  • Poor access to medical services

Signs of Verbal or Emotional Abuse

  • Resident appears emotionally upset or agitated
  • Resident is extremely withdrawn and non-communicative
  • Unusual behavior (sucking, biting, rocking)
  • Resident exhibits humiliating, insulting, frightening, threatening or ignoring behavior towards family and friends
  • Resident prefers isolation

If you notice any one of these signs of nursing home abuse or neglect,
take action right away.

Find an experienced nursing home negligence attorney to start a prompt investigation to find out if your loved one is being mistreated. They’ll do everything they can to hold the facility accountable for the harm they’ve caused and work hard to make sure it never happens again.

Find a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

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