How To Recognize Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

December 5 , 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Many Americans will eventually spend time in a nursing home. We like to think that these facilities treat their residents well, but that is not always true. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happen more often than people think.

Find out about nursing home abuse and neglect below, then speak to our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers at Martin Law Office, S.C., if you think you have a case.

Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Statistics

No one likes to think about older Americans being abused in a facility that is supposed to care for them. However, it is vital to understand how common the problem is:

  • Approximately one out of three older Americans have been abused in a nursing home.
  • In a recent survey, two out of three nursing home employees said they have abused or neglected their clients.
  • Approximately 85% of assisted living centers have reported abuse and neglect cases.
  • NPR reports that 97% of nursing home abuse cases in several states are not reported.

What Are Common Types of Abuse In Nursing Homes?

Most people think of nursing home abuse as physical injuries, but it can be more than that. Neglect, sexual assault, and emotional abuse also can be part of this growing problem:

Physical abuse

If the nursing home employees cause physical harm to a resident on purpose, this is physical nursing home abuse. Some common examples are kicking, slapping, pushing, and punching.


Some residents of nursing homes may be left alone for hours or even days. If the residents cannot care for themselves , this can cause severe illness or even death. Some neglected nursing home residents may have sepsis, dehydration, bed sores, and more.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault in a nursing home involves any undesired sexual activity. A CNN report found more than 1,000 nursing homes across the country had sexual abuse cases.

How To Recognize Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, take note if you see any of these signs:

Lack or Loss Of Mobility

High-quality facilities have policies and programs that keep residents mobile and moving. For example, a nursing home that neglects residents may leave clients sitting or lying in bed for hours. If this goes on long enough, residents become weaker and cannot move without assistance.

Poor Hygiene

Many older Americans need assistance with their hygiene and healthcare. For example, your parent may need help bathing and brushing his teeth. In addition, if the nursing home does not have enough staff, residents may be dirty and unwashed.


Take note if your loved one is getting thinner or dehydrated. They also could be malnourished if they are tired and irritable regularly. Other signs of malnutrition are hair loss, thin skin, and constant complaints of being cold.

Mental Health Issues

Nursing home abuse and neglect also may cause residents emotional and mental health problems. For example, chronic neglect can make your loved one anxious or depressed. You also may notice the person is afraid of certain nursing home employees. Pay attention if your loved one seems to be getting more distant from family and friends; this also can be a sign of neglect and abuse.

Mysterious Injuries

Nursing homes with poor staffing may have residents that have more unexplained injuries. For example, a resident left alone too much may fall often and have bumps and bruises. Some nursing home abuse cases are bad enough that the residents are physically assaulted, leading to broken bones and bruises.

Dirty Conditions

If your loved one’s room is dirty and the linens are not changed often, this could signify abuse and neglect. In addition, nursing homes should be clean and free of bugs and mold.

What Causes Abuse And Neglect In Nursing Homes?

Nursing home neglect and abuse happen for many reasons. However, there is no excuse for this to happen to you or your loved one, so you should talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer if you think something is not correct.

Lack Of Staff

If a nursing home lacks staff, every resident gets less attention. This increases the chances of neglect. A lack of staff can also make the employees impatient and irritable, leading to abuse. Data from the US government suggests that most nursing homes need more staff.

Poor Hiring Practices

Facilities that need staff may lower their standards and hire people they should not. All nursing homes should perform background checks on their employees. The applicants should not be hired if they have a severe criminal record. Your attorney will check the hiring practices of the nursing home to determine if there was negligent hiring.

Improper Training

Nursing home employees who are not fully and adequately trained can become neglectful and abusive. Also, undertrained staff are more likely to make errors with feeding, medication, and mishandling of residents in ways that cause accidents.

What Should You Do?

If you think your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it is critical to report it. The first step is to complain to the nursing home manager or an administrator.

If the situation continues, you should immediately report it to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Also, get medical attention for your loved one if you suspect neglect or abuse.

Further, if your loved one has suffered physical or emotional abuse in a nursing home, you should have the case reviewed by a licensed attorney. They will review the evidence and determine if you could be entitled to compensation.

Contact Wisconsin Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Today

Older Americans should be able to enjoy their ‘golden years’ without the threat of nursing home abuse and neglect. No one should tolerate themselves or their loved ones being abused, and you can stop it.

Our nursing home abuse attorneys proudly serve clients in Oak Creek, Milwaukee, New Berlin, Mount Pleasant, South Milwaukee, Racine, Franklin, West Allis, and Wauwatosa. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation about your Wisconsin nursing home abuse case.