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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are signs of nursing home abuse?
  2. What is nursing home neglect?
  3. Why does nursing home abuse and neglect occur?
  4. What should be done if nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected?


What are signs of nursing home abuse?

 Physical, mental and sexual abuse are forms of abuse encountered by nursing home residents across the country. Sadly, some of the most commonly abused nursing home residents include those who are physically or mentally disabled and have no way of fighting off a perpetrator.

Remember, you know your loved one better than anyone else. If you suspect mistreatment or abuse immediately report the situation to local police and/or ombudsmen. The reality is that most episodes of elder abuse go unreported.

The following situations warrant further investigation:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
  • Bed sores
  • Frozen joints
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Bloody clothing
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  • Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor
  • Resident being kept in an over-medicated state
  • Loss of resident's possessions
  • Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
  • Sudden loss of appetite


What is nursing home neglect?

Nursing home neglect can take many forms, from failure to provide medical care for both physical and mental health needs, to simply protecting the resident from health and safety hazards. A resident has the right to attain or maintain the highest practical physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being. When this standard is not met, more often than not there is a case of negligence.

Why does nursing home abuse and neglect occur?

Most situations develop due to the facility's inability to attract and keep quality, skilled staff, as well as inadequate training and under staffing.

What should be done if nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected?

You should contact the Department of Health in your particular state. In Minnesota, you should call 1-800-369-7994. In addition, you should seek legal counsel from an attorney who has experience in investigating and litigating nursing home abuse and negligence cases.