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What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?


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Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer

Nursing home neglect can be difficult to identify, especially for families that cannot see their loved ones every day. Because of that, it’s important to learn the signs of nursing home neglect so that you can protect your loved one from wrongful treatment.

Nursing home neglect is a type of abuse seniors endure while in a facility’s care. If your loved one informs you of neglect, it’s important to take immediate steps, like filing a report and removing your loved one from the facility. If you plan to file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home or staff member, it’s important to act quickly as the statute of limitations is often short. By hiring a lawyer, a victim’s family can have the best chance at recovering compensatory damages and holding a negligent nursing home accountable.

Call us today for a free case evaluation with the Indiana nursing home neglect attorneys at Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166. We world with families throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and throughout the country to help families ensure that their loved ones are adequately cared for and that nursing homes are held accountable when they do not.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect is a far too common issue throughout the country. It is classified as a nursing home’s failure to meet residents’ needs on a foundational level. Nursing home neglect can profoundly impact an older adult’s quality of life and worsen any medical conditions they might have. Neglect can also lead to residents sustaining serious injuries that are avoidable with the proper care.

When you entrust a nursing home with your loved one’s care, you expect the staff to treat your loved one with compassion and respect. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect happens. When it does occur, negligence can cause severe issues to a senior’s health and happiness.

Nursing home neglect is considered a form of elder abuse and can lead to other abuses in the future. Generally, it boils down to neglecting one’s basic living needs. For example, failure to provide a clean and safe environment for residents constitutes neglect. Nursing home neglect can occur when staff does not offer adequate food and water or access to necessary medical attention. Essentially, nursing home neglect happens when irresponsible staff fails to treat your loved one with the respect they deserve or abide by their duty to care.

If you believe that your loved one’s basic needs are not being met during their time at a nursing home, call our Indianapolis nursing home neglect attorneys. Our lawyers can help families understand whether their loved one is experiencing nursing home neglect and which steps they should take.

How Many People Are Victims of Nursing Home Neglect Annually?

It can be difficult to quantify the exact number of nursing home neglect victims throughout the country. This can be attributed to the fact that nursing homes may attempt to cover up neglect or invalidate victims’ claims. That being said, our attorneys believe any number of nursing home neglect cases would be too high.

While it can be difficult to know the true number of nursing home neglect victims, it is estimated that about 15% of nursing home abuse victims report gross negligence. Additionally, a recent study found that over 64% of nursing home staff admitted to perpetrating some form of abuse against residents within the past year.

Clearly, this is a serious issue. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is tasked with ensuring the safety of nursing homes throughout the country, it doesn’t catch every instance of neglect. Because so many nursing home neglect cases go unreported, it can be difficult for state and federal agencies to penalize negligent nursing homes. Unfortunately, this can allow nursing home staff to endanger your loved ones and deprive them of access to their basic needs.

It can be difficult for nursing home abuse victims to come forward with their experiences. Some seniors with certain conditions, like Alzheimer’s and dementia, may find it nearly impossible to do so. Because of this, it is crucial for friends and families to know the signs of nursing home neglect to protect their loved ones from inadequate care.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect can go unnoticed if you don’t know which signs to look for. Unfortunately, nursing home staff often has power over residents, making it difficult for older adults to alert their families to neglect or recognize the abuse for what it is. Because of this, it is important to know what signs to look for when identifying nursing home neglect during your visits with your loved one.

First, there are physical signs. The following are physical signs of nursing home neglect to look for when visiting your loved one at an assisted care facility:

  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Dislocations
  • Infections
  • Malnutrition
  • Scars
  • Sprains
  • Weight loss

Observe your loved ones during visits; do they seem withdrawn? Do they appear isolated? Do they seem depressed or afraid? These signs could indicate that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect and further abuse.

Finally, search for signs of hygienic issues. If your loved one cannot shower or is wearing unclean clothing, nursing home staff may be acting negligently.

It can be difficult for family and friends to identify signs of nursing home neglect, especially if they cannot visit their loved ones regularly. One of the largest issues regarding nursing home neglect and why it is allowed to continue is that staff will attempt to silence seniors or rationalize negligence claims.

If an older adult in your life claims that they are experiencing nursing home neglect, believe them. Then, hire a nursing home neglect lawyer to investigate the claim. Your loved one should not live in fear or discomfort because a nursing home is neglectful in its duties.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

There are three main types of nursing home neglect: medical, social, and hygienic. Often, when one type of negligence is present, it will be accompanied by another. If nursing home staff is irresponsible or negligent, that negligence is likely to appear in multiple areas of their duties. Each type of nursing home neglect comes with consequences for innocent seniors who are often powerless against negligent staff.

Medical Neglect

Medical nursing home neglect is a serious issue. This type of neglect occurs when a nursing home does not properly provide the necessary medical care to its residents. This could include failure to give residents their prescribed medication or get residents medical care after an injury or complication. Medical nursing home neglect can be incredibly harmful, as seniors are often more susceptible to illness and injury. Reach out to our nursing home neglect attorneys right away if your loved one tells you that staff does not give them their prescribed medication or ignores their complaints of pain or discomfort.

Social Neglect

Social nursing home neglect can be incredibly isolating and damaging to older adults. Seniors need community and socialization, just like any person. Social nursing home neglect can make it more difficult, and sometimes impossible, for residents to engage with others and have a full life. For example, nursing home staff may fail to provide mobility assistance devices, like canes or wheelchairs, to residents in need. They may also fail to include residents in activities, either accidentally or intentionally, reducing their quality of life.

Hygiene Neglect

Hygienic nursing home neglect can be extremely damaging to seniors. This type of neglect refers to a resident’s hygiene. Depending on a resident’s condition, staff may have to be more involved in helping them stay clean. For example, some seniors may need help brushing their teeth or showering. Some residents may need help changing their clothes or using the restroom. Nursing home staff should change all residents’ sheets and provide them with clean clothing. Neglecting a resident’s hygiene can cause medical issues for patients and be incredibly damaging. If you notice a decline in your loved one’s hygiene, speak to a Milwaukee nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as possible.

What Can Happen When Seniors are Neglected?

When nursing home neglect happens, it can profoundly impact a victim’s health and happiness. Failure to provide medication can worsen a senior’s medical conditions and cause complications, while social nursing home neglect can result in depression. The consequences of nursing home neglect are often severe and should not be understated.

If your loved one is neglected by nursing home staff, their overall health may decline. Failure to provide clean drinking water can result in anemia or dehydration, which can be especially damaging to older adults. When nursing home staff fails to provide your loved one with the necessary walking assistance tools, like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, your loved one can sustain serious injuries.

When negligent nursing home staff fail to provide prescribed medication to your loved one, there can be serious consequences. Not taking the necessary medication can worsen seniors’ medical conditions and cause additional complications. Failure to provide your loved one with basic needs, like food, can lead to malnutrition and extreme weight loss.

Nursing home neglect’s social and emotional consequences can be overwhelming for residents, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Victims of nursing home neglect can develop depression and anxiety, substantially reducing their quality of life. In severe instances, nursing home neglect can lead to death.

The consequences of nursing home neglect can be incredibly damaging to victims. As soon as your loved one informs you of the neglect they experience, speak to a South Bend nursing home neglect attorney. It is crucial to take the necessary steps to improve your loved one’s life before they develop additional issues resulting from nursing home neglect.

How Does Nursing Home Neglect Happen?

Families of nursing home neglect victims need to know how nursing home neglect often happens. Understanding this can help families find a suitable nursing home for their loved ones and avoid such damaging issues.


Nursing home neglect is not always malicious. Sometimes, this form of abuse can occur when nursing homes are understaffed. If assisted living facilities do not employ enough workers and house too many residents, it can be difficult for staff members to care for each resident properly. In cases of understaffing, nursing home staff may fail to clean linens or provide clean clothes. A facility’s failure to hire enough staff members is not your loved one’s fault. They should not suffer because the nursing home staff is overworked. Unfortunately, understaffing is a common cause of nursing home neglect across the country.

Improper Training

Improper training is a common cause of nursing home neglect. When facilities fail to properly train and prepare staff members, they may be ill-equipped to do their job. Working in a nursing home can be a difficult profession. Residents have varying needs, depending on their condition. If a nursing home facility fails to train prospective staff members and hires them anyway, it can result in negligence.

Poor Hiring Processes

Nursing homes should investigate a prospective staff member’s history during the hiring process. These facilities should screen candidates and run background checks before hiring a potential staff member. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, leading nursing homes to hire individuals who are likely to neglect your loved one or engage in other forms of abuse. Unfortunately, nursing home residents can have little independence, depending on their condition. Because of that, certain individuals may be more likely to abuse their position of power and mistreat your loved one during their time at a nursing home.

Lack of Supervision

Nursing home neglect often results from a failure to properly supervise direct care staff to ensure that they are providing quality care that complies with their legal obligations. This lack of supervision can lead to tragic consequences, particularly when a facility hires unqualified workers, fails to train those workers properly, and then places them in understaffed facilities.

What Should You Do If Your Loved One is Neglected?

If your loved one confides in you that they are being neglected at their nursing home or you see signs of abuse, you need to respond properly. Taking the right steps is crucial to protect your loved one and, ultimately, help them get the justice they deserve.

When a senior in your life tells you that they are experiencing neglect, the first thing to do is listen. It can be very difficult for victims to come forward with their experiences. The most important thing to do is validate them and believe them. Next, speak with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer.

Nursing homes should not be able to neglect residents without fear of repercussions. Our Hammond nursing home neglect attorneys are dedicated to helping victims and their families hold negligent facilities accountable for their actions.

Your attorney will likely advise you to file a complaint with your loved one’s nursing home. It is also important to report nursing home neglect to your state’s Adult Protective Services agency and the nursing home’s ombudsman, the representative for the resident’s interests. If negligence has caused medical issues, take your loved one to a doctor right away. A medical professional can attest to your loved one’s medical complications or injuries and their likely cause. Depending on the situation, you may also choose to file a police report.

Finally, it is important to remove your loved one from the negligent nursing home facility right away when possible. Particularly if your loved one is in immediate danger or is not receiving the proper level of care that they need, it is important to find a suitable facility quickly. Contact us and we will direct you to resources which can help you research alternative placements and find a highly rated facility in your area.

Who Can File a Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit?

Residents and their families trust nursing homes and their staff to provide a safe, caring environment. When that trust is broken, negligent parties can be held responsible for their actions in a civil lawsuit.

Depending on the situation, several parties can file a lawsuit for nursing home neglect. For example, residents themselves can sue for compensatory damages after receiving negligent care. A resident’s power of attorney can file a lawsuit on their behalf as well. This is common when residents have certain medical conditions, like dementia, and cannot file a lawsuit independently. If, unfortunately, nursing home neglect leads to a senior’s untimely death, their family can likely bring a lawsuit on a deceased loved one’s behalf.

Ask our Fort Wayne nursing home neglect attorneys if you want to sue a negligent nursing home but are unsure how to proceed. We are dedicated to helping families and victims hold negligent parties accountable for their wrongful actions against innocent residents.

Who is Liable for Nursing Home Neglect?

Depending on the circumstances, both a facility and an individual staff member can be held liable for nursing home neglect in a civil lawsuit. It is important to speak with a nursing home neglect lawyer so that you can learn who is responsible for your loved one’s experience.

If a nursing home fails to train or screen its employees properly, it can be held responsible for a resident’s mistreatment. In addition, if a nursing home fails to maintain a safe environment for residents or does not apply the necessary safety measures, it can be liable for the abuse done to your loved one. Additionally, individual staff members can be held responsible for nursing home neglect in a lawsuit.

Nursing homes and their staff owe residents a duty of care. When they don’t provide the proper level of care and act negligently, they can be held liable.

Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits

If your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, it is important to act quickly. Generally, the statute of limitations to file a nursing home neglect lawsuit is relatively short. If you want to hold a negligent nursing home responsible, you need to hire a lawyer fast. Although each state has a different filing deadline for nursing home neglect lawsuits, plaintiffs often have one to three years to file a civil suit in court. If the nursing home involved is a municipal or state owned facility, there may also be technical notice requirements that need to be provided to government agencies even sooner.

In addition to these statutes, nursing homes sometimes also try to place contractual limitations on how quickly you must take action. These are often buried in nursing home admissions documents, and may or may not be enforceable depending upon your jurisdiction.

Because of potentially short time limits, it is crucial to hire a nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as you learn of the abuse. Failure to file before the statute of limitations ends can cause you to lose your right to compensatory damages.

It is important to give your nursing home neglect attorney ample time to build a strong case against a negligent facility or staff member. If neglect results in injuries to your loved one, you may be faced with costly medical bills or other expenses. It is crucial to act quickly when faced with nursing home neglect so that your loved ones can get justice for the wrongs done to them.

Proving Nursing Home Neglect in a Lawsuit

In order to recover damages and hold a nursing home responsible for the wrongs done to your loved one, it’s important to be able to prove neglect. If you believe an older adult in your life has experienced nursing home neglect, there are some steps you can take to help your attorney prove it.

If you suspect that your loved one is neglected by nursing home staff, start compiling evidence. Families can take photos that indicate neglect, such as unclean rooms and clothing or visible bruises or other abnormalities. If you communicate your concerns with the nursing home, be sure to keep records of any interactions. When families report nursing home neglect to the proper agencies, they can better prove neglect in a lawsuit against a nursing home or individual staff member. In some states, you may even be allowed to install cameras in your loved one’s room to catch potential neglect.

Our Indiana personal injury attorneys will use any evidence you can compile to strengthen your claim against a negligent facility. Our lawyers will also launch their own investigation into a nursing home’s practices to further prove negligence in a lawsuit.

Damages for Nursing Home Neglect

Plaintiffs in nursing home neglect lawsuits can recover two types of damages: economic and non-economic. The former refers to the financial impact nursing home neglect has had on a resident’s life, and the latter refers to the emotional impact of such abuse.

Nursing home neglect can result in significant expenses for victims and their families. For example, neglect, such as failure to provide prescribed medication, can require costly medical treatment. If, unfortunately, nursing home neglect leads to a loved one’s death, compensatory damages can help to cover funeral costs.

Because nursing home residents rarely earn an income, they are not likely to recover economic damages for lost wages. They can, however, recover damages for pain and suffering. The emotional impact of nursing home neglect can be incredibly damaging. Our nursing home neglect lawyers are dedicated to helping victims recover the damages they deserve to heal and hold negligent parties accountable.

Call Our Attorneys if Your Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Neglect

Seniors do not deserve to be treated negligently while under a nursing home’s care. For a free case evaluation with the nursing home neglect attorneys at Wruck Paupore, call us today at (219) 322-1166.

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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

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