top of page
  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

How to Spot Signs of Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home

Tragically, abuse and neglect can and do occur in nursing homes in the United States and across the world. According to a 2022 report by the World Health Organization, an estimated one in six people aged 60 and older experienced some form of abuse in long-term care/community settings during the past 12 months.

It is important to be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so that you can take action against any wrongdoing and protect your loved one. If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, our New York City nursing home injury lawyers at Leitner Varughese PLLC can help.

Common Types of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes

Let’s discuss the four most common types of abuse and neglect that can occur in nursing homes, as well as the signs of abuse/neglect you should watch out for when visiting your loved one.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes any form of intentional physical contact between a caregiver or another resident that results in injury or harm. Examples of physical abuse include bruises, burn marks, welts, and any other unexplained injuries on the body. If you notice any signs of physical abuse on your loved one’s body, it is critical to document it immediately and report it to authorities.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is defined as an act intended to cause distress or anguish through verbal or nonverbal actions. This type of misconduct often goes unnoticed because there are no outward signs of injury or harm. However, there may be behavioral changes such as depression, anxiety, withdrawal, or mood swings that could indicate emotional trauma or mistreatment from caregivers or other residents at the nursing home.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when someone forces a vulnerable person into sexual contact without their consent. It is particularly common in nursing homes where residents may not have the capacity to provide informed consent due to age-related cognitive decline. Signs of potential sexual assault include unexplained STDs/infections, emotional withdrawal behavior (such as refusal to engage with others), and stained/torn/missing underwear, among other suspicious evidence that should always be reported immediately.


Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide adequate care for a vulnerable person resulting in avoidable suffering or harm. The most common signs of neglect include bed sores, malnutrition/dehydration, poor personal hygiene, and unsanitary living conditions such as unclean bathrooms and beds that have not been changed in days. Needless to say, if you notice any signs of neglect on your loved one’s behalf, it is critical to document them and get help as soon as possible.

What to Do if You Spot Signs of Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home

It is heartbreaking but unfortunately true that some people who are placed in the care of nursing homes suffer from various forms of abuse and neglect due to their vulnerability and lack of awareness about their rights. Knowing the signs of each type of maltreatment can help us protect those who cannot protect themselves from further harm by alerting authorities immediately if anything suspicious arises so they can investigate further details before taking action against perpetrators accordingly.

If you suspect elder abuse or neglect is occurring at a nursing home facility, you must take immediate steps to ensure the safety of all parties involved by filing an official report with local law enforcement authorities right away. Doing so will ensure that justice is served swiftly and appropriately based on state laws regarding such cases involving seniors under long-term care.

Contact Leitner Varughese PLLC to Get Legal Help

If you suspect that your loved one suffered any form of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, do not hesitate to seek legal help. Our results-driven and dedicated lawyers at Leitner Varughese PLLC can represent your loved one’s best interests and fight for justice. We will help you ensure your loved one’s safety and well-being by holding abusers accountable for their wrongdoing and heinous acts. Call 212-671-1110 today to get immediate legal help.


bottom of page