Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

When a senior citizen enters a nursing home, they and their loved ones expect and deserve a certain level of attention. Long-term care facilities are presumed to provide exactly what their name suggests: care. Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to live up to their assurances—or even basic standards. Maltreatment or subpar services can result in patients being neglected, which often leads to physical or mental injury.

Federal regulations define nursing home neglect as the “failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.” Neglect includes the lack of attention to medical, emotional, or physical needs of a resident. Failure to provide a safe and clean environment is also an example of neglect.

How You Can Spot the Red Flags of Neglect

An alarming study reveals that nearly all long-term care residents have been victims of neglect or have witnessed another resident suffer from neglect or abuse. Whether intentional or not, the disregard for a resident’s well-being often goes unreported, as many residents are mentally or physically unable to recount their experiences.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, knowing the signs of neglect is the first step to ensuring their safety. These signs can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bed or bedside injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Falls, fractures, or head injuries
  • Chronic infections
  • Patient wandering
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Untreated bed sores
  • Unexplained or unexpected death of a resident
  • Unsanitary or hazardous environment
  • Signs of poor personal hygiene such as soiled clothing or lack of bathing
  • Reports of resident-to-resident abuse
  • Frequent unreported illness of the patient

Nursing Home Falls Caused by Neglect

Elderly patients are prone to falls. However, nursing homes are required to develop plans and implement measures to prevent them. Leaving patients unattended and allowing for poor lighting, slippery floors, or improper patient transport procedures can all increase the likelihood of a trip, stumble, or fall.

If your loved one has suffered an increased number of falls, it may be a sign of neglect.

Paying Attention to the Signs of Neglect

If your loved one is in a nursing home and you recognize any of the above listed signs of neglect, don’t disregard them. The National Center on Elder Abuse can provide you with a listing of the appropriate reporting agencies in your state. Nursing home neglect can result in the serious injury of even death of a loved one.

For information on the right to receive compensation for any type of nursing home injury, or to discuss your situation with a legal professional, contact the lawyers at