10 Signs Your Loved One Might Be A Victim Of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

According to a 2014 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, 33% of seniors in skilled nursing facilities experienced a form of abuse, neglect, or preventable injury. Countless events of abuse or neglect go unreported because the elderly victims are unable or unwilling to report them.

Watch For These Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse Of Neglect

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you need to keep an eye out for the signs of abuse and neglect. Some clues are more obvious than others. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, trust your instincts and get answers.

Here are 10 potential signs of nursing home abuse or neglect:


Bedsores are nasty skin irritations caused when a person stays in one position for too long. They begin as mild rashes but left untreated, they can degenerate to gaping, infected holes in the flesh, down to the bone. Many elderly people are totally reliant on the staff to ensure they are adjusting their position on a regular basis to avoid bedsores.

There is NEVER an excuse for bedsores. Bedsores vary in severity (stages 1 through 4), depending on how long the victim goes without moving, and the symptoms begin with red, warm skin and get progressively worse, becoming severe, infected open wounds that can reach down to the bone.

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections

This can be a sign of dehydration or poor cleanliness with regard to catheterization.

Serious Rashes

You will likely find them in the diaper area, resulting from sitting in urine and feces for extended periods.

Unexplained Injuries

There might be very good explanations for unexplained injuries (broken bones, dislocations, bandages, bruises, or scratches), as older people are more prone to falls, bruising, and injuries.

However, every such injury should be investigated and explained to ensure they are not the result of negligence, rough handling, or violence. Some residents are left alone without the help they need, which is a form of negligence that can lead to injury.

Signs Of Unnecessary Sedation

Behavior that is confused or overly drowsy (or sleeping significantly more than normal) could be a sign that your loved one is being given unnecessary sedatives. It can also be related to dosage issues or unmonitored side effects of other medications.

Recent Loss Of Mobility

If your loved one no longer has the ability to get around on their own as they did before, this could be a sign that they are not getting sufficient exercise and are losing muscle.

Poor Hygiene

Signs of poor hygiene include body odor (including the smell of urine or feces), dirty/torn clothes or lack of clothing, unwashed/unkempt hair, long nails, and more. This is a sign they are not getting regular care and due respect for their dignity.

Sudden Weight Loss

This could be a sign of malnutrition. Some nursing homes neglect elderly residents by:

  • Failing to provide meals throughout the day
  • Providing inadequate portions
  • Serving meals deficient in essential nutrients

Many older adults also need help eating, and if they do not get the assistance they need, they can go hungry. It can also be a sign of depression, which could be a symptom of some other form of mistreatment.

Signs of Dehydration

If your loved one complains of more than one of the following symptoms, it may be a sign of dehydration:

  • Cracked lips
  • Infrequent urination
  • Discolored or strong-smelling urine
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constant headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Continuous thirst

Personality Changes

If your loved one has had an abrupt and negative change in their demeanor, such as anxiety, easy agitation, being withdrawn, or showing a lack of interest in favorite activities, this could result from poor treatment, bullying, or worse.

Many people remain silent about their mistreatment due to fear of retaliation, and the sadness or humiliation of their experiences comes through in these personality changes.

Nursing Home Residents Have A Right To Receive Dignified Care

Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect. To help ensure that happens, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987. The act protects patients’ rights in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, adult care facilities, and assisted-living facilities. In addition, the law establishes that every nursing home must provide:

  • Adequate treatment, care, and services
  • Care that is free of abuse and neglect
  • Timely and reasonable responses to patient requests

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center also explains additional rights that residents enjoy, such as the right to:

  • Be fully informed
  • Participate in their care
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Receive visitors
  • Make independent choices
  • Remain in the nursing home facility unless particular conditions are met
  • Complain about treatment, staff, food, conditions, or any other grievance without fear of retaliation

You Have A Right To Report Nursing Home Negligence

The right to complain is essential for residents experiencing abuse and neglect within the nursing home. In addition, families should be aware of these 10 signs of nursing home abuse and neglect—and others—so they can act immediately.

You can report elder abuse anonymously to the police, your local ombudsman, the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). In addition to these actions, you can consult an attorney for potential financial damages.

Victims Of Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Have A Right To Compensation

You and your elderly loved one can also take legal action against the negligent nursing home. Your loved one could recover compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, additional care expenses, and essential supplies. Our law firm is here to hold negligent nursing homes responsible for their unacceptable actions.

Our firm offers many benefits for nursing home abuse and neglect victims:

  • We have specialized expertise with nursing home negligence cases and medical malpractice claims in the Baltimore area
  • More than 137 years of combined legal experience as trial and appellate lawyers
  • Millions of dollars recovered for our clients all over Maryland
  • 24-hour availability
  • A free consultation to discuss your case
  • Compassionate and dedicated lawyers who care for their community and clients

Call Brown & Barron, LLC If Your Loved One Was Abused Or Neglected At A Maryland Nursing Home

A nursing home abuse and neglect attorney at Brown and Barron, LLC can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for the injuries your elder family member has suffered. We are dedicated to serving injury victims in Maryland. Contact us today for a free case evaluation so we can discuss your case and answer your questions.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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