How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Most nursing home residents are elderly, with several medical problems that could result in death. So how do you determine if a death is due to care home abuse? Below are conditions that may indicate nursing home abuse or neglect.

  • Pressure sores or bedsores: Pressure sores occur on the bony prominences, such as buttocks and heels, and are caused by prolonged pressure when the resident cannot reposition themselves.
  • Dehydration: Signs of dehydration can be confusion and weakness, and in the elderly who have multiple medical problems, dehydration can be deadly.
  • Multiple falls: Nursing homes are required to alert family members to a change in condition such as a fall. Falls can result in fractures, and if not diagnosed in a timely manner, the resident can suffer for days prior to treatment.
  • Bruises: Bruises found on the chest, back, arms and legs can be signs of abuse by the nursing home staff or other residents. Bruises without explanation by staff should be treated with suspicion.
  • Sudden changes in mental status: If a resident becomes confused or does not recognize family and friends, this can be a sign of abuse (e.g., dehydration, medication errors or infection). If a change in mental status is not immediately evaluated by the nursing home, it can be a sign of neglect.