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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Lance Brown & Associates has years of experience helping clients identify the signs of nursing home negligence and abuse.  If your loved one resides in a nursing home anywhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania and you suspect that visitors, staff, or other residents may be committing acts of abuse, it is vital that you act as soon as possible.  Nursing home abuse lawyer Lance Brown is prepared to help you investigate any suspected abuse and hold long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other parties responsible for any identified abuse or neglect.

Some indicators of nursing home abuse can be obvious, while others may be more subtle.  Some may be indistinguishable from injuries suffered innocently and accidentally, but if the signs start piling up, you must act.  Below, we provide some of the signs to watch out for in order to ensure that your loved one is not suffering from abuse in a nursing home.  If you identify one or more of these in connection with your loved one’s stay at a nursing home, reach out to a passionate nursing home abuse lawyer for help to protect your family and ensure that the responsible parties are held liable for their actions.

Unexplained or Abnormal Physical Injury

Some small injuries such as bumps and bruises are expected and can be explained as a part of normal life.  But if you notice any unusual injuries, injuries that are unusually recurring, or injuries that no one at the nursing home seems able to explain, then your loved one may be suffering from physical abuse.  Overworked or overstressed employees may lash out at residents by pushing, punching, kicking, biting, choking, scratching, or otherwise causing physical harm.  Be on the lookout for bruising, cuts, scarring, broken bones, dislocation, inexplicable marks on wrists (signs of restraints), damaged possessions, or questionable circumstances surrounding the death of a resident.

Signs of Dehydration or Malnutrition

Nursing homes must ensure that their residents are kept healthy with proper food and fluids.  If your loved one appears emaciated or otherwise malnourished, or if there are signs that they are extremely dehydrated, they may be suffering abuse in the home.  Some nursing home residents may have conditions that cause them to be dehydrated or malnourished more easily; nursing home staff should be trained to accommodate such maladies, and failure to do so may indicate abuse.  Some malicious staff may withhold food or water from residents as a form of punishment, or forget to feed residents as a result of poor training or understaffing.  Look out for sudden weight loss, dehydrated skin, cracked lips, sunken eyes, or unusual lack of energy, all of which may indicate malnutrition or dehydration.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Overworked, overstressed, or simply malicious nursing home staff may lash out at residents verbally and emotionally as well as physically.  Emotional abuse can come in the form of aggression, intimidation, humiliation and demeaning behavior towards residents, as well as in the form of deliberately ignoring or isolating residents.  Signs of verbal and psychological abuse include:

  • Unusual fear or aggression towards staff or people generally
  • Fear or anxiety about speaking openly
  • Depression, anxiety, isolation
  • Rapid mood changes
  • A noticeable change in disposition
  • Withdrawal or disorientation

Unsanitary Conditions and Poor Hygiene

Nursing homes are bound by state and federal law to keep the premises clean and proper, as well as to keep residents hygienic, groomed, and healthy.  Unsanitary conditions at the facility such as mold or mildew, old food left uncollected, or trash and other waste left unattended may be signs of abuse.  Additionally, if your loved one appears dirty or unwashed, unkempt, with untrimmed nails or unbrushed teeth, they may be suffering abuse.


Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring that residents who lack mobility are not left unattended and stationary.  Even patients who cannot walk or move generally must still be, at a minimum, turned over. Leaving a person in the same position for too long, either intentionally or negligently, can cause bedsores.  The presence of bedsores can indicate neglect or abuse by staff.

Helping Your Loved Ones Stay Free of Nursing Home Abuse

Your attorney works for you and you alone. Your attorney is focused on your case and your interests rather than other concerns such as politics, budgets, staffing or other issues.  All that matters is pursuing what is best for you and your loved ones.  Attorney Lance Brown devotes his focus, experience, and resources to investigating and pursuing your case, tailoring his representation to your needs and the specifics of your case.  He will work to ensure that anyone responsible for harm to nursing home residents is held accountable and that your family member gets the care they deserve.  If you or a loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse in New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania, contact Lance Brown & Associates for immediate assistance.

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