Older woman being wheeled at nursing home

Identifying The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

By Steven Miller
Senior Partner

Nursing home injuries are frighteningly common, and most of them are due to neglect or outright abuse on the part of staff. Sadly, many facilities view the elderly as expendable. They fail to train staff, overlook gross negligence, and allow their premises to become unsafe and unhealthy. By the same token, it’s not always easy to prove that a nursing home resident has been harmed. If you have a family member who resides in one of these facilities, it is critical that you recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. can help you seek justice for your loved one.

The different forms of abuse and neglect

There are four broad categories of nursing home abuse and neglect: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, and financial. Some residents fall victim to all of these types, and others. Even worse, the abuse or neglect could persist for months or even years without intervention.

Most abused and neglected nursing home patients share one thing in common: absent or uninvolved family members. The more infrequent that relatives visit or call the resident, the more likely he or she will become a victim. The best way you can protect your loved one is to visit and call often, let the staff become acquainted with you, and quickly report any problems you notice to management.

Even so, this cannot absolutely guarantee that your family member won’t be harmed. Therefore, it will be critical to know how to recognize abuse and neglect.

What to look for

Every case of abuse and neglect is different, but consider the following common signs:


  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Burns, blisters, and bruises
  • Unexplained broken bones and related injuries
  • Changes in behavior
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sudden or unexplained death when there were no urgent health problems


  • Ripped, torn, or bloody clothing
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or infections
  • Bruising in the thighs and groin area
  • Reluctance to answer questions about potential abuse
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Difficulty walking or sitting


  • Anxiety attacks
  • Depression
  • Social or family withdrawal
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Displays of fear or intimidation in the presence of nursing home staff
  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood


  • Missing money or property
  • Missing bank statements and other records
  • Abrupt changes to a last will and testament, power of attorney, or other instrument
  • A stranger suddenly taking unusual interest in your loved one’s property or finances
  • Unexplained financial transactions
  • Unpaid bills

Who can be held liable?

Although nursing home doctors and staff are often to blame for abuse and neglect, that blame is not always direct. For example, much abuse happens at the hands of other residents. This does not necessarily relieve the facility of any liability, however, since the nursing home is ultimately responsible for the foreseeable conduct of its patients. An experienced nursing home injury lawyer will seek to identify any and all responsible parties that may be held liable.

The Bottom Line: Vigilance Is Key

Keeping an eye on the health and safety of your loved one is not always easy. Many nursing home residents suffer dementia and other mental deficiencies, meaning they cannot speak up for themselves. Even those who can say something often do not because they are afraid of retribution or are embarrassed.

It is therefore your job to be on the lookout for evidence that your family member is being harmed. If you suspect this is the case, our law firm can put an end to the abuse or neglect and help you seek monetary compensation. Call Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. today to learn more about your legal options.

About the Author
Steven Miller, Esq. is the founding member and Senior Partner in Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. Mr. Miller’s extensive career as a trial attorney spans five decades. He tries cases for the catastrophically injured victims of construction site accidents, motor vehicle and premises accidents caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Miller is a detail oriented, tenacious attorney committed to achieving the maximum results for his clients; he has obtained numerous seven figure verdicts and settlements.