sad looking old man in a wheelchair

Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect Families Should Look For

What Does Nursing Home Neglect Look Like?

Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home or elder care facility is never easy. Most people choose to do so to provide the best care possible, but sometimes harmful conditions exist and may not be so easy to spot.

According to data from the National Ombudsman Reporting System, the United States averages about 200,000 abuse and neglect complaints against nursing home facilities each year. However, even though this seems like a large number, there are thousands of injuries and signs of abuse and neglect that may go unnoticed or be mistaken for general signs of aging.

Our team is passionate about protecting the rights of the elderly and will work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome possible for your case. If you are seeing signs of nursing home neglect schedule a consultation with our office by calling (212) 880-6496 or by filling out our online contact form.

What Are Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?


While bruising may be common in the elderly, it may also point to signs of neglect and even physical abuse.

During the next nursing home visitation with your loved one, consider looking for these signs of nursing home neglect and abuse, as they may be signs of neglect and possible abuse:

  • Bedsores (also called pressure ulcers)
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Infections

If your loved one has suffered any of these abusive injuries, it should be taken seriously as it can have long-term effects on one’s health.

Malnutrition or Dehydration

Despite regulations being in place for decades that require nursing homes to ensure that residents maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status (unless their clinical condition demonstrates that it is not possible), it’s estimated that malnutrition still affects about 40% of residents.

Malnutrition in the elderly can lead to:

  • Loss of fat
  • Muscle mass and body tissue
  • Heart failure
  • Or even death

Here are some red flags:

  • Loss of appetite or interest in food or drink
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Low energy
  • Irritability and depression

Additionally, people who are suffering from dehydration commonly have issues with:

  • Bowel movements
  • Balance problems
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • And a number of cognitive issues

Here are some signs to look for:

  • Dry mouth or cracked skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Overall fatigue
  • Muscle cramps

It’s important to note that both dehydration and malnutrition can cause organ failure, strokes, and premature death.

Unsanitary Living Conditions

From dirty facilities to not meeting the needs of the residents, unsanitary conditions in nursing homes can include poor resident hygiene, unkempt rooms or common areas, and not washing hands or wearing proper safety equipment/attire, to name a few.

Signs of unsanitary conditions may be easier to spot than other forms of neglect, as they include characteristics like:

  • Soiled or dirty bedding and clothing
  • Bed bugs or rashes
  • Residents with unwashed hair and long, dirty fingernails
  • Odors in the resident’s room or common areas
  • Left out trash or food

All people have the right to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment - especially in nursing homes. If your loved one sustained an injury or is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, you should talk to an attorney about whether you have a case.

Are you seeing signs of nursing home neglect? Law Firm of D.F. Truhowsky has been a premier New York nursing home neglect firm for decades, having achieved millions of dollars in compensation for clients. Call (212) 880-6496 today or fill out our online form!