Request A Free Consultationcat-right

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nearly two million Americans live in long-term care facilities, and abuse and neglect against the elderly are national concerns. Federal nursing home regulations state that “the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” These regulations define nursing home abuse and neglect as:

  • Abuse: an intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care/service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish
  • Neglect: a failure, intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in resident harm or anxiety

Types of Abuse and Neglect

  • Assault and battery (including kicking, slapping, pinching, pushing, shaking, beating, threats and verbal or emotional abuse)
  • Lack of care for existing medical problems
  • Prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water
  • Rape or other forms of sexual assault or battery
  • Unreasonable physical restraint or seclusion
  • Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication for any purpose not consistent with that authorized by a physician

Common Signs of Physical or Verbal Abuse and Neglect

  • Bed injuries/asphyxiation
  • Dehydration
  • Emotionally upset or agitated, exremely withdrawn and non-communicative
  • Falls, fractures or head injuries
  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering/elopement
  • Malnutrition
  • Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain; signs of malnutrition
  • Reluctance to speak in staff members’ presence
  • Unexplained or unexpected death of the resident
  • Unexplained injuries such as wounds, cuts, bruises or welts in various stages of healing
  • Unsanitary and unclean conditions
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behavior (fear of being touched, sucking, biting, rocking)
  • Wanting to be isolated from others

Other Warning Signs of Physical or Verbal Abuse and Neglect

  • Injuries requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization
  • Any incident involving broken bones, especially a fractured hip
  • Any injury or death occurring during or shortly after an episode of wandering (including outside the facility)
  • Heavy medication or sedation
  • One resident injures another resident
  • Resident is frequently ill, and the illnesses are not promptly reported to the physician and family