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How to Detect Nursing Home Abuse and What You Can Do About It

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Currently, there are over 3.2 million adults who live in either long-term care facilities or nursing homes throughout the US. A survey showed that roughly 44% of nursing home residents have been abused in the past, while 95% of all residents of nursing homes claim they had seen other adults/seniors neglected and/or abused.

Because of such surveys and reports, the United States of America have passed laws meant to prevent elder abuse. However, this has not put a definite end to this.

Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll talk about how you can detect nursing home abuse, as well as what you should do when you notice it.


Detecting Nursing Home Abuse

Generally, you can detect if an elder has been abused if they show changes in their behavior or personality, or they display frequent tension when they are accompanied by their caregiver.

These aspects may mean that the elder is being abused by their caregiver or someone else. When you notice any of the above, you should start looking for additional signs of abuse.

Nursing home abuse comes in various ways.


Physical Abuse

  • The elder has unexplained sprains, dislocations, or broken bones.

  • Broken eyeglasses.

  • Failure to properly take their medications.

  • Rope marks or other signs of restraint.

  • Wels, scars, or bruising seen on the elder’s body.


Emotional Abuse

  • Unusual elder behavior – symptoms like dementia, such as rocking and mumbling behaviors.

  • The caregiver belittles, threatens, or controls the elder.


Caregiver Neglect

  • The elder is left alone in a public location.

  • Unsafe living conditions – faulty electrical wiring, lack of heat, no running water, or fire hazards.

  • Improperly dressed for certain weather.

  • The elder is not being bathed or is left with dirty clothes.

  • Dehydration or unusual loss of weight on the part of the elder.


Besides the aforementioned, the elder may also be subject to healthcare fraud, financial exploitation, or even sexual abuse. 

This is why you should pay attention to more than just a couple of aspects when trying to determine whether the elder is being abused or not.


What Can You Do About Nursing Home Abuse?

Naturally, you do have to take action in such circumstances – even if you only suspect that the elder is being abused. As a rule of thumb, you should never allow a form of suspected abuse to continue without being checked.


  • Keep calm and search for a solution in a reasonable manner.

  • Talk with the staff and management of the nursing home and question the signs of suspected abuse. The management must and should explain to you, in detail, anything related to the elder you are referring to.

  • Speak with the elder. Pay attention to their behavior as well as to their caregiver when you are talking with them about the possibility of abuse.

  • Take notes and question caregivers. A good, proper caregiver will never have any issues with you questioning them as long as you are reasonable. 

  • In case of signs of clear abuse, you should call the police as soon as possible.

  • Report the nursing home abuse to the protective services for adults of the state you live in.

  • Lastly, it is in the best interest of the elder to hire a nursing home abuse lawyer, as they know everything about such issues – as well as how to properly deal with them.


The Bottom Line

Given that nursing home abuse is an actual issue, we should all avoid forgetting our elders when we place them in a nursing home. The latter makes for a difficult work environment and not everyone can handle it.

It is well known that only kind and patient people will have an easy time looking after our elders. In this respect, we should pay attention to the institution, the management, and the staff before considering a certain nursing home free of abuse or neglect.


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