7 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

By Greg Kohn

Elderly individuals are at risk of being abused in nursing homes and assisted living facilities for several reasons. In many cases, neglect and abuse occur and go undetected because an elderly patient cannot or is unwilling to tell a family member or other individual about the abuse. Therefore, knowing the signs of nursing home abuse can help you recognize and report elderly abuse and neglect.
Our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys discuss seven of the most common signs of nursing home abuse in this blog. They also discuss what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse.

7 Signs That Could Indicate Nursing Home Abuse

1. Unexplained Illnesses, Injuries, or Hospitalizations
Unexplained injuries, such as broken bones, bruises, and lacerations, are a common sign of nursing home abuse. However, unexplained illnesses and hospitalizations might also indicate abuse and neglect. For instance, sexually transmitted diseases or infections could indicate sexual abuse. Frequent trips to the hospital for severe dehydration may indicate neglect.
2. Bedsores
Bedsores are another common sign of neglect. When staff members do not move or turn over a patient frequently, bedsores can develop. Bedsores can be painful and cause serious infections. Nursing home staff members should check on patients routinely and move stationary patients to prevent bedsores from forming.
3. Malnutrition
Malnutrition and unexplained weight loss are another sign of neglect and abuse. Many nursing home patients are unable to feed themselves. Staff members should take the time to feed patients who are unable to feed themselves or who resist feeding to prevent malnutrition. In some cases, malnutrition could be a sign of abuse from intentionally withholding food and drinks from a patient.
4. Extreme Fear and Anxiety
If your loved one does not want you to leave or appears to be fearful of staff members, it could indicate that staff members are abusing your loved one. Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including intimidation, fear, and verbal abuse. Fear and anxiety are often symptoms of verbal abuse. Unreasonable avoidance of nursing home staff members is another potential sign of abuse.
5. Missing Property or Money
Financial abuse is another problem for some nursing home patients. If you notice that your loved one’s personal items are missing or that he or she is not receiving scheduled services, you may want to investigate the matter closely.
6. Unanswered or Deflected Questions
You can and should question staff members and nursing home administrators about concerns and issues that impact your loved one’s care. If your questions are ignored or deflected, do not give up. Persistence is one of the best ways to uncover nursing home abuse.
7. Poor Personal Hygiene
Nursing home patients often require assistance with basic personal hygiene. Poor personal hygiene may be an indication that staff members are neglecting a patient. Patients who are left to lay in soiled beds or forced to wear soiled clothing can develop serious health conditions. Poor personal hygiene can also severely impact a patient’s emotional and mental health.

Contact New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys for Help

Nursing home abuse and complaints about care can be reported to the New Jersey Department of Health. Serious cases of abuse can also be reported to local law enforcement agencies. You may also contact our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys at Nagel Rice, LLP today for help in reporting cases of abuse and to discuss your legal options for holding a nursing home legally liable for abuse.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.