Signs of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse

Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Signs of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse

Do you suspect your loved one is being abused or injured while residing in a nursing home?  Have you noticed unexplained bruising or lost of weight not associated with his or her ailments? According to the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA), one study interviewing 2,000 nursing home residents reported that 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they were neglected or saw another resident being neglected.

Unfortunately, many elders do not report their abuse or injury.  A Newport Beach personal injury attorney discusses the different types of abuse nursing home residents may suffer and signs of abuse for you to look out for.

Types of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse

Nursing home residents may suffer the following types of abuse:

  • Physical abuse – physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment
  • Emotional or psychological abuse – verbal or nonverbal acts that inflicted anguish, pain or distress
  • Sexual abuse – non-consensual sexual contact or forcing the older person to watch sexual acts
  • Neglect – failure to fulfill any part of the caregiver’s obligations or duties
  • Abandonment – deserting the elder without planning for his or her care
  • Financial exploitation – misappropriation of the elder’s assets
  • Healthcare fraud – claims for unnecessary medical care and treatment

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Injury or Abuse

Each person and every situation is different, leading to varying warning signs.  Different factors must be considered, including the elder person’s ordinary condition.  For example, if your mother suffers from an illness that causes easy bruising from the slightest touch, then seeing bruising on his or her skin may not indicate physical abuse.  Likewise, if she suffers from dementia, which causes loss of memory, then the inability to recognize you or recall what she ate that morning is not indicative of abuse.  Thus, it is imperative to understand that warning signs may not always be typical or what you may expect given the situation.

A knowledgeable Newport Beach personal injury attorney suggests looking to both the Administration of Aging (AOA) and the National Institute on Aging, who suggest watching for the following signs that may indicate an instance of injury or abuse:

Physical Abuse:

  • Bruising, black eyes, welts, lacerations, or rope marks
  • Broken or fractured bones or skull fracture
  • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, or untreated injuries in varying stages of healing
  • Strains, sprains, dislocations, or internal injuries or bleeding
  • Broken property such as eyeglasses/frames or dentures, signs of being subjected to punishment or being restrained
  • Elder’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked, mistreated or otherwise abused
  • Change in behavior
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see the elder alone

Emotional or Psychological Abuse:

  • Emotionally upset or agitated
  • Extremely withdrawn or non-communicative or responsive
  • Unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (e.g. rocking, biting, and sucking)
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Elder’s report of verbal or emotional mistreatment such as harassment, humiliation, intimidation, treats, insults, verbal assaults, or isolation

Sexual Abuse:

  • Bruises around the breast or genitalia
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted disease
  • Unexplained genital infections or bleeding
  • Unexplained anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Elder’s report of sexual abuse or rape


  • Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bedsores, or personal hygiene deterioration
  • Unattended or untreated health problems, like not administrating medication
  • Hazardous or unsafe living conditions or arrangements such as no heat or running water
  • Unsanitary or unclean living conditions
  • Elder’s report of mistreatment or neglect


  • Deserted at medical facility, including hospital or rehabilitation
  • Deserted at the store or other public location
  • Elder’s report of abandonment

Financial Exploitation:

  • Change in bank account or banking practice, including unexplained withdrawals of money by a person accompanying the elder
  • Inclusion of additional name for authorization to account
  • Unpaid monthly bills or inability to pay bills
  • Giving excessive and unexpected gifts, especially to non-family members
  • Giving away control of financial affairs to caregivers
  • Inability to explain personal financial transactions

Healthcare Fraud:

  • Unexpected or unnecessary medical treatment or equipment
  • Excessive diagnostic testing
  • Caregiver’s inability to adequately explain the necessity for a medical treatment or equipment
  • Billing to insurance or medical providers for services never provided

Contact Our Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorney

If you suspect your loved own was injured or was abused in his or her resident nursing home, consider contacting 911 (if you believe there is an emergency), your local law enforcement or the Adult Protective Services.

It is also wise to consult an experienced and tenacious Newport Beach personal injury attorney with Russell & Lazarus APC at (949) 851-0222 to assist you with reporting the abuse to the appropriate state agency, such as the California’s Health and Human Services Agency, follow up with any enforcement agency and discuss additional appropriate legal steps.

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