The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

When placing our loved one in a nursing home, we have every intention of selecting a facility that will provide them with the very best care. However, despite our best efforts, abuse and neglect in the home they are placed in can still occur.

Sadly, nursing home residents are typically not forthcoming with information that they are being mistreated out of fear of what will happen if they do report it. Studies show that it is estimated only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever go reported.

Abuse comes in many forms and therefore can be difficult to detect in some instances. It’s important to remain vigilant when visiting your loved one and to be aware of the signs of various types of abuse to ensure they are not being harmed.

Warning Signs by Type of Abuse Include:

Psychological or Emotional Abuse

  • Complaints of being poorly treated
  • Strained/tense relationships
  • New depression
  • Withdraw from normal activities
  • Agitation
  • Crying recurrently
  • Sudden change in alertness

Physical Abuse

  • Inexplicable falls
  • Broken bones, bruises, cuts, and abrasions
  • Medication errors/overdoses

Financial Abuse

  • Sudden changes in finances
  • Unusual use of credit cards
  • Missing possessions
  • Unpaid bills
  • Sudden changes in mood or demeanor


  • Unsanitary environment
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Bedsores
  • Pressure ulcers

Sexual Abuse

  • Development of a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
  • Bleeding, pain, and/or irritation from the anus or genitals
  • Bruises on the inner thigh or genitals
  • Pelvic injury
  • Difficulty with walking (not pre-existing)

What to do if you Suspect Abuse

If you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected at their care facility, or if they have passed away unexpectedly and you believe that abuse or neglect was a factor contributing to their death, you may be entitled to compensation.

At Henson Fuerst, we will not stand for the abusive or neglectful treatment of our elderly community – especially in the same places that are intended to keep them safe.

If you suspect that the abuse of a loved one:

  1. Seek medical attention.
    Take your loved one to a hospital or alternative care facility to be examined as soon as possible. If the nursing staff doesn’t allow you to remove your family member from the facility, contact a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney at Henson Fuerst immediately.
  2. Document the abuse.
    As soon as you discover your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, take pictures of any visible injuries and room conditions, and write down any witness statements from staff or other residents.
  3. Re-locate your loved one.
    Whenever possible, try and move your loved one to another facility. Choosing another facility may take time, so make sure you have documented and reported the abuse as soon as possible.
  4. Report the abuse.
    If your loved one or other nursing home residents exhibit any signs and symptoms of abuse, report the abuse as soon as possible to government authorities.
  5. Contact Henson Fuerst.
    A North Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer at Henson Fuerst can investigate the details surrounding your case and help ensure the abuse or neglect is put to an end for the entire facility. Call us at 919-781-1107 today.

*If you suspect that an older adult is at risk of immediate, life-threatening danger call 9-1-1. If you believe that an older adult is being neglected or mistreated contact Adult Protective Services and/or law enforcement. You can also learn more by calling the Elder Abuse Helpline at 1-800-677-1116.

Raleigh Office

3110 Edwards Mill Rd
Suite 210,
Raleigh, NC 27612

P (919) 781-1107
F (919) 781-8048

Rocky Mount Office

2317 Sunset Ave
Rocky Mount, NC 27804

P (252) 443-2111
F (252) 443-9429

Jacksonville Office

2200 Gum Branch Rd
Suite G
Jacksonville, NC 28540

P (910) 377-7671

Boone Office

Appointment Only

P (828) 295-7469

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