Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

nursing home abuse and neglect

As we
get older many of us are faced with the responsibility of being a caretaker for
our aging parents.  We all hope to assist
our loved ones in being independent as long as possible.  However, for many, skilled nursing care in a
residential environment is the only option.

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) estimates that “about 1-2 million U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older have been mistreated, exploited or injured by a caregiver.” Unfortunately, “a study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent,” according to the NHAC.

home neglect and abuse are similar in many ways but are not entirely the same. Both
can be harmful to a loved one but, by definition, abuse means there was a
specific intent to harm, while neglect means that a sub-standard of level of care
was provided which resulted in harm.


As mentioned, abuse means there was a specific
intent to harm. Every allegation of abuse should be taken seriously and
investigated properly. There are several different types of nursing home abuse
and warning signs for each:

  • • Physical
    • ○ Unexplained
      broken bones, dislocations, sprains, bruises, or welts
    • ○ Signs
      of restraint
    • ○ Broken
    • ○ Tooth
    • ○ Traumatic
      hair loss
    • ○ Unexplained
      burns and scratches
    • ○ Delays
      in receiving medical care
    • ○ Various
      trips to the emergency rooms including different emergency rooms
    • ○ History
      of hospitalization for the same injuries
    • ○ Refusal
      by the caregiver to let you be alone with your loved one
  • • Emotional
    • ○ Unusual
      behaviors such as mumbling or rocking back and forth
    • ○ Witnessing
      any controlling or threatening behavior
    • ○ A lack
      of friendly interaction with staff and other residents
  • • Sexual
    • ○ Unexplained
      STDs or other genital infections
    • ○ Bruising
      near or around the genitals or breasts
    • ○ Stained,
      bloody, or torn underwear and/or clothing
    • ○ Vaginal
      or anal bleeding which is unrelated to a medical condition
  • • Financial
    • ○ Unusual
      packages, goods, subscriptions, and/or services
    • ○ Lack
      of medical care
    • ○ Unexplainable
      withdrawals from accounts
    • ○ Adding
      names to credit cards and bank accounts
    • ○ Missing
      money and/or items of value
    • ○ Changes
      in power of attorney, life insurance, wills, property, etc.


There are many types of nursing home neglect,

  • • Emotional – A loved one is repeatedly left alone or ignored.
  • • Hygiene – A loved one does not receive adequate hygienic care including bathing, brushing of teeth, laundry, cleaning, etc.
  • • Basic Needs – A loved one does not have basic needs met such as food, water, and shelter.
  • • Medical – A loved one does not receive adequate attention or medication which can result in bed sores, infections, mobility concerns, etc.  

It’s important to understand that
identifying nursing home neglect can be difficult as there may not always be
physical signs. Potential warning signs could include:

  • • Sudden weight loss
  • • Dehydration and/or malnutrition
  • • Changes to behavior (i.e. suddenly withdrawn, lack of interaction)
  • • Changes in hygiene, poor hygiene
  • • Lack of mobility
  • • Bedsore, pressure ulcers
  • • Multiple falls

If you or a loved one suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help. Contact VanDerGinst Law today. We have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the complexities of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win. Call VanDerGinst Law at 800-797-5391. The law is tough, being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.

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