Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse – The Warning Signs

Nursing home neglect and abuse has risen dramatically in the United States over the years. Unfortunately, our loved ones and seniors are at risk for neglect and abuse every day. Elder neglect and abuse can happen in many different ways and sadly many cases go unreported and unpunished. It is very important to regularly visit your loved ones in nursing homes and to listen to what they tell you about how they are being treated. Paying attention to the warning signs is incredibly important because serious injury and even death can occur if the necessary steps aren’t taken.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

Basic Needs Neglect.
This happens when the nursing home or assisted living facility fails to provide a clean and safe environment, along with reasonable amounts of food and water that meet the specific dietary needs of the individual. A lack of providing for the basic needs of an individual in the care of nursing home can result in dehydration and malnutrition, among many other things.

Personal Hygiene Neglect.
This occurs when there is not a clean environment and individual does not receive the proper assistance with cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, laundry, and changing their clothes/under-garments/sheets. Also, some elderly individuals have a need for diapers that must be changed regularly. Not being in a clean and sanitary environment can be detrimental, causing bedsores, rashes, infections, illnesses, and depletion of the immune system.

Medical Neglect.
This is when the nursing home or assisted living facility fails to provide the proper medical prevention, attention, or medication. This can include a failure to make arrangements for doctor visits, failure to properly screen for possible ailments, failure to check for drug allergies and adverse drug interactions, and ignoring the concerns that are voiced by the individuals themselves. This can result in infections, allergic reactions, untreated diseases, and death, just to name a few.

Emotional Neglect.
This is problem that can seriously affect the mental health of an individual in a nursing home. This is where the elder person is continually ignored, left alone, or even accidently snapped at by overworked staff. This type of neglect can cause depression or anxiety in an elderly person.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Psychological Abuse.
This is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse. It includes insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. This can also be in the form of isolating the elderly person from their family, friends, or their regular social activities. This type of abuse can cause serious mental illness, depression, agitation, mood swings, confusion, and other unusual behavior.

Physical Abuse.
This is when the individual is subjected to physical force that can result in a physical injury. This would include hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, pinching, kicking, and many other things. It can even be withholding medications, giving more than recommended doses of medication, physical restraints, force-feeding or skipping meals. This type of abuse is usually visible, resulting in bruises, black eyes, welts, broken bones, open wounds, sprains, dislocations, scars, or sudden weight loss.

Sexual Abuse.
This occurs when the elderly person is forced into any unwanted sexual activity. This is defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, it can happen when the individual is sleeping or incapable of giving consent because of an illness, such as, dementia. This includes unwanted touching, inappropriate nudity, sexual photographing, and any form of rape or sodomy. This can cause bruising around the genital area, unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal or anal bleeding, or ripped, stained, or bloody underclothing.

Financial Abuse.
This happens when a caregiver takes advantage of an elder’s financial matters, including, their funds, property, or assets. This can be cashing their checks without authorization, forging their signature, stealing their possessions or money, or coercion into giving them assets or money, convincing them to sign contracts or altering their wills, or the misuse of any form of guardianship. This can be recognized by changes in banking practices, unexplained transfers or withdrawals, changes in important documents (wills, power of attorney), unpaid bills, procurement of unnecessary services, or forged signatures.

If you have a loved one that is in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is very important that you visit them regularly and watch for the signs and symptoms of neglect and abuse. It also very important that you listen to what your elderly loved one is telling you about their treatment. Do not hesitate to inquire into the living conditions of your loved one if something doesn’t feel right. Paying attention to the warning signs and knowing what to look for can mean the difference between life and death for our elderly loved ones. If you sense something is wrong, seek the help and advice of a professional immediately.


If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing neglect or abuse, call Stewart, Seay, and Felton at 404-637-0240 or 1-855-YES JUSTICE for a free consultation! We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we will not ask for a legal fee unless we recover compensation for you.

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