Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs

Nursing Home

Family and friends frequent nursing home facilities to visit loved ones and friends who are residents of these facilities. Each year thousands of elderly Americans are known to be abused or neglected in long-term nursing home facilities, group homes and nursing homes for those in need of special assistance.

Even if you or another loved one does not suspect abuse of the elderly or infirm person it is critically important to ask questions. It is imperative to know warning signs of elder abuse. If you should recognize any of these signs, take action now:

  • Unsanitary or unclean facilities
  • Dehydration and/or malnutrition
  • Injuries, bruises, broken bones, cuts, black and blue marks
  • Falls
  • Pressure sores
  • Unexplained and/or untimely death
  • Financial planning changes
  • Missing medicine
  • Emotional or personality changes
  • Missing personal property
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Depression

It is most important for family, friends and loved ones to regularly visit a nursing home resident. The more often you are present, the more likely that the staff of the facility will be aware that you or others who are concerned will be present and to ask questions about the well-being of the nursing home resident.

Nursing home abuse or elder abuse takes many different forms. For example, abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, and even sexual. Make sure that your loved one is receiving all of the required care from the staff and nurses. Be aware of any change at all. Call out to the nursing home administrator any observation of lacking care. Ask the resident if he or she is receiving mail each day. Ask if they are being taken to the dining facility or given their meals each day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. You should get to know the staff and who looks after your loved one. Has your loved one been hospitalized because of injury or illness due to malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, infections, rapid weight loss, wandering, falls, fractures or the sudden occurrence of weight loss? If the answer is “yes” to any of these, take action to find out exactly why such injury or illness took place.

More than two million Americans currently reside in a nursing home, long-care facility or group home for the elderly or disabled. The law in Illinois under the Nursing Home Care Act and federal law are designed to protect those who are most vulnerable-the elderly and the disabled. Signs of abuse can occur by injury, confinement as a punishment of some kind, intimidation, lack of reasonable and necessary care, physical harm, emotional harm and neglect. Neglect can take place intentionally or because the nursing home facility is understaffed or lacks proper training of staff or intentionally provides inadequate attention and care to certain residents.

Types of abuse and neglect include assault and battery, slapping, pushing, punching, shaking, and threatening attack and verbal abuse. Residents have been known to have their medicines denied as a supposed punishment.

Warning signs of elder abuse or nursing home abuse are apparent. The financial exploitation of the elderly is common. The nurses, assistants or caretakers become very familiar with a resident and too often are known to take advantage of the unwary by changing the names on bank accounts, title or deed to real estate, making themselves beneficiaries or legatees under a will and other sinister financial dealings to benefit themselves at the expense of the elderly resident who may be suffering from dementia or illness. Some elderly have been known to sign powers of attorney to caregivers unknowingly.

It is not uncommon for elderly to be abused not just by those who work in the nursing home facility, but by family members or supposed friends of the resident. Look for signs that the resident is socially withdrawn, isolated, in worsening physical and emotional health.

Whenever it is suspected that someone you love may be the victim of abuse, report it to the nursing home director and to the Illinois Department of Health.

If you believe a loved one is at risk of abuse at a nursing home facility, it is critically important that you act quickly. Protect them from abuse by calling Kreisman Law Offices. We have over 40 years of experience in handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Contact our Chicago office at 312.346.0045 or 800.583.8002 or by email at for an immediate free consultation, or fill out our contact form.

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