Close up of a senior person's hands held on their lap

How to Identify Nursing Home Abuse

Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is not an easy one to make. You likely did rigorous research to locate the best facility for the resources you have available.

While the majority of nursing homes in the U.S. are clean and for the most part, comfortable places to be, there are some facilities that fall short of the expectations of care.

As you may know, abuse can be elusive at times if we are not diligent about monitoring for warning signs. Read on to learn more about the signs to watch out for that may indicate your loved one is being abused in a nursing home.

Understanding Nursing Home Abuse

Before you can identify nursing home abuse, you must first understand the different types of abuse that elders can endure. The different forms of abuse include:

  • Physical
    • Physical abuse occurs when members of the nursing home staff consciously initiate physical harm to residents.
  • Psychological
    • Psychological abuse is inflicted upon a resident when a staff member says or does something to harm the elder’s emotional well-being.
  • Neglect
    • When a resident is left alone for an extended period of time, there are a number of ways this inflicts physical and psychological harm on the elder.
  • Sexual
    • If an elder in a nursing home is taken advantage of in a sexual manner, they have been sexually abused.
  • Financial
    • Financial abuse can occur when nursing home residents do not have someone they trust to help them handle their financial affairs. It is possible for elders to be taken advantage of by nursing home workers and others who are frequently in and out of these facilities. The elders who are most vulnerable to this type of abuse are the patients who suffer from cognitive conditions such as dementia.

Warning Signs of Abuse in a Nursing Home

It is important you are able to identify abuse while your loved one is in a nursing home. The last thing you want is for the abuse to go undetected and for it to last any longer than it has to.

Physical Abuse

If you recognize any of the following warning signs, your loved one may be enduring physical nursing home abuse:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Welts
  • Bedsores
  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Lacerations
  • Skin tears
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Other sleep disorders
  • Head injuries
  • Dental injuries
  • Illness
  • Infection
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Mysterious weight loss

Psychological Abuse

The following may indicate your loved one is enduring psychological nursing home abuse:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Reduced confidence or self-worth
  • New aggressive or violent behavior
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Neglect can be just as damaging as other forms of abuse. If you notice any of the following, your loved one may be neglected in their nursing home facility:

  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Infections
  • Bed sheets or clothes that are dirty and unchanged

Sexual Abuse

Your loved one may have been sexually abused if you recognize any of the following:

  • Wounds near the genitalia
  • Improper physical contact with members of the staff
  • Suspicious sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse may have been inflicted upon your loved one in a nursing home if you identify any of the following warning signs:

  • Changes to the power of attorney
  • Establishing new credit lines or bank accounts
  • Mysterious transactions or payments

We’re Here to Help Your Family

If you suspect your loved one has endured abuse of any kind in a nursing home, it is critical that you reach out to a skilled attorney. The last thing you want is for your loved one to continue enduring abuse and for others in similar circumstances to sustain harm as well.

Our team is here and wants to do everything possible to help you and your family through this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office to learn more about how we can help.

Contact the skilled team at Lanzone Morgan today to discuss the details of your case. Call (562) 512-5505 or fill out the online contact form to get in touch with an attorney now.