11 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

By Randolph C. Lafferty and Bard L. Shober

What can we do to keep our family members safe and well-cared for?  How can we tell if nursing home patients are being treated properly?

Ideally, a family member or friend would spend extended time each day with a loved one in a nursing facility to make certain they get everything they need and deserve.  However, for most people, that is simply not an option.

The first four signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are fairly easy to recognize:

  • Inadequately explained bruises or fractures,
  • New skin breakdown – pressure ulcers / bed sores
  • Frequent falls, and
  • Rapid weight loss (a sign of malnutrition).

Other signs can be more subtle:

  • Changes in consciousness and mental status,
  • Changes in sociability, and
  • Avoidance or fear of nursing staff.

One of the best ways to make sure your parent or loved one’s nursing home is providing acceptable care is to keep in contact with the nursing staff and your loved one on a regular basis, and to be vigilant in looking for signs of abuse and neglect.  Other signs to be aware of include:

  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering or elopement,
  • Unsanitary or unclean conditions, and
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behavior.