FREE Consultation (866) 848-7077

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 24, 2018 in Nursing Home Neglect

nursing home resident sitting in wheelchairNursing home abuse is one of the most common threats that puts residents at risk of physical and emotional harm. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are reluctant to identity their abusers or are physically or mentally incapable of understanding when they have been abused. For this reason, it is imperative that you are able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse so you can put a stop to it if it is occurring.

Below, D’Amico & Pettinicchi’s New Haven nursing home negligence lawyers have provided several signs to identify when a resident may be suffering from physical abuse. If you believe your loved one is being abused or taken advantage of in his or her nursing home, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. 

Poor Hygiene

Many nursing home residents need help with basic hygiene, including getting dressed in the morning, brushing their teeth, bathing and other activities.

Some signs residents are not getting the help they need include:

  • Residents wearing the same clothes every day
  • Bodily fluids or human waste in public areas of the nursing home
  • Putrid smells that are not taken care of
  • Residents are unclean, unkempt or appear to have not been bathed recently

When a nursing home resident's basic personal hygiene is not being taken care of, it may indicate he or she is suffering from abuse or neglect. This may be the result of understaffing in the nursing home, when there are not enough staff members or caregivers to assist residents with their basic needs. Poor hygiene may also indicate that the nursing home’s staff members lack the training or qualifications to provide appropriate care.


Malnutrition is a medical condition that results from a lack of food or eating an unbalanced diet that lacks proper nutrients or contains too much of one particular nutrient. When a nursing home resident is malnourished, it may be a sign that he or she is being neglected.

Some signs that a nursing home resident may be suffering from malnutrition include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Fragile bones
  • Muscle loss
  • Mental decline
  • Memory loss
  • Dry skin
  • Tooth decay


Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in. Nursing home residents can become dehydrated very quickly and often need assistance from staff members to hydrate themselves.

The following symptoms may indicate a nursing home resident is suffering from dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin flushing
  • Dark colored urine
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Chills
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite

In serious cases of dehydration, symptoms may include difficulty breathing, vomiting, and seizures. If you notice a nursing home resident suffering any of the above mentioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.


Bedsores are ulcers that occur on the skin from prolonged periods of inactivity. Typically, nursing home residents at risk for bedsores are residents who are immobile or unable to get out of bed or stand up from a chair without assistance.

When a resident develops a bedsore, the affected area of the skin becomes painful and sensitive to touch. It may break open and look like a shallow hole in the skin or like a blister.

Severe bedsores may reach as deep as the resident’s bone, exposing muscle and fat. When this occurs, the resident is at serious risk of infection and may suffer damage to muscle tissue, tendons and joints.

Unexplained Injuries

Unexplained injuries may be a sign that a nursing home resident is being neglected by his or her caregiver. This may occur when a resident does not receive the assistance he or she needs to move throughout the facility, grab out-of-reach objects, or stand up out of bed or a chair. Examples of injuries your loved one may not be able to explain include:

  • Bruising
  • Fractured or sprained bones
  • Torn muscles or ligaments
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Dislocated joints

If a nursing home resident has unexplained injuries, it may be a sign that he or she is being neglected by staff members tasked with physically assisting him or her. These injuries may also indicate the resident is being abused by staff members or another resident. If your loved one has injuries he or she cannot explain, you should immediately report the abuse to the nursing home.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect your loved one has been abused at a nursing home, it is important that you report the abuse or inform others of your suspicions as soon as possible. Typically, you may contact the nursing home’s administrative staff or the nursing home director to inform him or her that you suspect your loved one is being abused.

If you suspect a resident is in immediate danger or has been physically harmed or threatened, you should inform local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1. After that, you can report what happened to the State Department on Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

Contact Our Attorneys for Help

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, it is important that you have a strong legal advocate on your side.

For more than 25 years, D’Amico & Pettinicchi’s personal injury attorneys in New Haven have helped victims of negligence obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. Contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim and determine if you have legal options.

We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront charges for our services. Our lawyers only get paid if you recover compensation for your claim.  

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today or call us at (866) 848-7077.