Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse: 6 Signs to Watch Out For

Many families with senior relatives rely on nursing staff to care for and comfort their loved ones. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect are common in senior living communities, and residents are often the victims of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Discover the signs of nursing home neglect below.

1. Personal Hygiene Issues

Many residents in nursing homes need help with daily hygiene routines like bathing, brushing their teeth, washing their hair, and clipping their nails. If you find your loved one with unwashed hair, overgrown nails, body odor, and dirty clothes, they may not receive help with grooming.

Inadequate personal hygiene is a common issue in understaffed nursing homes that don’t have enough care providers to assist every resident with their daily grooming schedules. The nursing home’s staff may also be poorly trained and unable to provide proper care.

Unfortunately, your loved one’s health likely suffers due to poor hygiene. For example, insufficient dental care is a common problem in senior care facilities, which leads to oral health issues.

2. Unsanitary Conditions

When you visit your loved one, look around their environment for any signs of unclean conditions. Government regulations mandate nursing homes provide residents with a safe and sanitary environment that enhances their comfort.

Your loved one should have clean bedding and clothing and access to sanitary bathrooms and kitchen areas. The nursing home must be free of mold, pests, and other dangerous conditions that spread infections and endanger your loved one’s health. If any of these things are an issue, the nursing home is neglecting your loved one.

3. Reduced Mobility

Many nursing home residents have mobility issues. However, your loved one may not get enough individualized care if their mobility problems worsen every visit.

A nursing home resident should stay active to help muscles get stronger, increase balance, and boost circulation. Most senior care facilities have walking programs that encourage movement among residents and reduce spasms and contractures. 

Worsening mobility issues are common among seniors left in beds and wheelchairs for long periods. So, deteriorating mobility in your loved one is a cause for alarm. 

4. Unexplained Injuries

Fall and head injuries often occur when seniors with health and mobility issues try to do things themselves. A nursing home should provide adequate care and a safe environment that prevents residents from injuring themselves.

When you visit your loved one, observe their bodies for bruises, burns, and cuts that suggest physical abuse. Overwhelmed staff may hit, push, bite, and pinch a patient and try to explain away the injuries as falls, even if your loved one has no history of being a fall risk. 

Your loved one is likely a victim of intentional abuse if they are injured and the injuries haven’t been reported. Some nursing staff also use restraints to keep residents in one place and control their behavior. Restraints often cause lacerations and bruising.

5. Poor Nutrition

Nursing care facilities must offer healthy meals and water to residents. Unfortunately, poor nutrition is typical in poorly-run nursing homes.

Look for hair loss, papery skin, dehydration, and irritability in your loved one, which indicates insufficient nutrition. Sudden weight loss without reported diet or activity changes is also alarming, as poor nutrition worsens a senior’s health.

6. Changes in Emotional State

A loved one who no longer engages in activities they previously enjoyed may be suffering in silence. Is your loved one anxious around a particular aide? Does your loved one seem withdrawn and lacks interest in group activities?

A neglected and abused resident is often agitated, fearful, and embarrassed, especially if threatened and bullied. They may even withdraw from family members and suffer from depression.

Signs of nursing home neglect aren’t always obvious, and you must be observant when you visit your loved one to detect even the slightest changes in their mood and quality of life. At William J. Cooley, Personal Injury Attorney, we will fight for your loved one’s rights and get them the compensation they deserve for abuse and neglect. Call us today if you suspect nursing home abuse.