Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Warning signs of nursing home abuse range from the obvious to the insidious. Elderly residents don’t always speak out about verbal, mental or physical abuse; sometimes they are unable, sometimes they are too afraid or intimidated. Sometimes nursing home abuse isn’t discovered until it’s just too late.

Some of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect are obvious:

  • unexplained bruises
  • cuts
  • burns
  • broken bones

Some that are not-so-obvious include:

  • weight loss
  • poor personal grooming
  • missing possessions
  • unusual signs of loneliness and depression

Since injuries and accidents are relatively common in a nursing home environment, it is often confusing to families and friends what constitutes a “normal” accident and what merits investigation or other prompt action. It’s critical that families and friends learn to discern, as best they can, situations that may signal potential nursing home abuse.

Ask questions about falls. Watch for unsafe conditions at nursing homes while you are researching and again as a visitor. Ask questions about medications, dosages, and any medication changes. Wandering away from the nursing home is a red flag indicating neglect. Bedsores require immediate and careful attention, as do any signs of malnutrition and dehydration.

All of these factors are critical and significant to the health of seniors, and lack of attention to any of them on the part of nursing home staff should be considered a serious warning sign of nursing home neglect or physical or mental abuse.