Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

November 8, 2021

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

With millions of people living in nursing homes across the country, nursing home abuse and neglect represent a real concern for families who have loved ones in nursing homes and long-term adult care facilities. Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect often are unable to report the harm that they have suffered, either because their abusers restrict access to victims, or because victims feel embarrassment or shame over what they have suffered, or because cognitive decline renders them unable to verbalize the harm they have endured or even to understand that they have been victimized by abuse or neglect. 

This is why it is important for families of nursing home residents to familiarize themselves with the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect so that they can recognize them in a loved one if the unthinkable happens. If you and your family observe signs of abuse or neglect in a loved one residing in a nursing home, you need to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your loved one’s and your family’s legal rights and options. 

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What Are Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Under federal nursing home regulations, residents are guaranteed the “right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” 

Nursing home abuse involves an intentional infliction of injury, punishment, confinement, or deprivation of care that causes physical harm and mental/emotional anguish. Neglect refers to the failure, whether intentional or negligent, to provide a resident with the care and services the resident needs to avoid harm or another injury.

Examples of conduct that constitute nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Assault, such as beating, slapping, kicking, or pushing
  • Threats of physical violence
  • Emotional abuse, including yelling or belittling
  • Failing to provide medical care, including failing to provide assistance to a resident who requires help with ambulating
  • Deprivation of food or water
  • Sexual assault and battery
  • Unreasonable physical restraint
  • Forced seclusion, including denying phone or internet access, or denying the opportunity to participate in social activities
  • Unprescribed medical sedation

Signs of Abuse

Some of the signs that may indicate that a nursing home resident has been abused by staff include:

  • Fall injuries, including bone fractures or head injuries
  • Unexplained injuries like cuts or bruises
  • Multiple injuries in various stages of healing
  • Reluctance to speak in the presence of staff members
  • Fear of being left alone
  • Wanting to be isolated
  • Unusual, sudden changes in behavior, such as agitation or depression
  • Engaging in soothing behaviors like sucking, rocking, or mumbling
  • Fear of being touched
  • Heavy medication or sedation when not prescribed by the resident’s physician
  • Restraint injuries
  • Asphyxiation injuries
  • New sexually transmitted infections

Signs of Neglect

Signs that a nursing home resident is suffering from neglect include:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Infections
  • Bed sores/pressure ulcers
  • Incidents of wandering or elopement
  • Unsanitary or unclean conditions in the facility or in a resident’s home
  • Torn or soiled clothing or bedding
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Fractured hips and other fall injuries
  • Frequent illnesses, especially illnesses that are not promptly reported to the resident’s physician or family

Contact a Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Nursing Home Abuse Case Today

Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home negligence or abuse in Pennsylvania, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Home visits can be arranged in certain situations. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.