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4 signs of nursing home neglect or abuse

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Injuries

When you make the difficult decision to move your family member into a nursing home, you expect a safe, compassionate environment where they receive the care they need. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Here, you can learn the tell-tale signs of nursing home neglect or abuse.

1. Physical injuries

The most obvious type of abuse is physical. Common signs include unexplained cuts, bruises or burns, particularly in areas not typically prone to accidental injury. Broken bones, bedsores (especially in advanced stages) and marks from restraints on wrists or ankles are also indicators of potential abuse. Additionally, sudden weight loss or malnutrition without a clear medical reason should raise concerns.

2. Emotional changes

Emotional abuse can manifest in various ways, including withdrawal from social activities or family visits, unexplained behavior changes like depression and expressing fear or anxiety around certain staff members. Victims of emotional abuse may also display an unwillingness to speak openly about their experiences in the nursing home.

3. Financial issues

Financial exploitation is another form of abuse that elderly individuals in nursing homes may face. Signs of financial abuse include missing personal belongings or valuables, unauthorized withdrawals or changes in financial accounts and sudden changes in the resident’s financial situation without a reasonable explanation.

4. Neglect 

Neglect can be just as damaging as direct abuse. It may present through poor personal hygiene, such as unwashed hair or dirty clothing, lack of necessary medical aids like glasses or mobility devices, untreated medical conditions or infections and signs of inadequate nutrition or dehydration.

Recognizing signs of nursing home abuse requires vigilance from family members, visitors, and staff. It is essential to take any concerns seriously and report them to the appropriate authorities for investigation and intervention. By being proactive in identifying and addressing abuse, we can help maintain the safety and dignity of those in nursing home care.