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Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect at Nursing Homes

Look for signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.

What are the warning signs of elder abuse and neglect at a nursing home?

man in wheelchair of nursing home

What are the signs of neglect or abuse at a nursing home?

The signs of abuse and neglect are largely what one might expect: Are residents wearing dingy or dirty clothes? Is their skin dirty? Are residents developing a high number of bed sores? Do they look malnourished? Do residents have unexplained bruises? Are bed guardrails kept in an elevated position? (This can be a health issue for elderly residents.)

What is elder abuse?

According to the law, “elder abuse” can take one or more of several forms, including but not limited to:

  • physical abuse of elders
  • neglect of elders
  • financial abuse or exploitation of elders
  • abandonment or isolation of elders
  • abduction of elders
  • any treatment that results in physical and/or psychological harm to elders

“Neglect” itself is a complex term that encompasses, according to the law, several components, including but not limited to:

  • failure to assist in personal hygiene
  • failure to provide food, clothing, and/or shelter
  • failure to provide necessary care for physical health
  • failure to provide necessary care for mental health
  • failure to protect from health and safety hazards
  • failure to prevent malnutrition and/or dehydration

What do you do if you notice signs of neglect or abuse at a nursing home?

According to the Health in Aging Foundation, if one identifies signs of neglect and/or abuse in any resident at a nursing home (not just his or her loved one), he or she should:

  • Report the concern to a member of the nursing staff
  • If this does not resolve the matter to the individual’s satisfaction, report the matter to an ombudsman, who is responsible for handling possible violations
  • If the matter still is not resolved to satisfaction, contact the state or local department of health

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