photo of nursing home bed and wheelchair

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home, an assisted living facility or any long term care facility is one of the most difficult decisions that a family may have to make.  It is always difficult to entrust a parent, grandparent or loved one to the care of others but sometimes due to physical, mental or other needs a loved one may need care that a family simply cannot provide at home.  Nursing homes undertake a profound duty and make a solemn promise to provide the best care and treatment to those entrusted to them.  Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not always provide the best care and treatment to their residents.  It can come as a shock to a family to find out that those to whom a loved one is entrusted may have actually caused their loved one harm.  When this happens it may be confusing about what to do or how to proceed.  At such a time, it is important to seek the advice and counsel of a lawyer who investigates and litigates claims involving the abuse or neglect of residents in nursing homes.

The federal government and every state government have enacted laws and set forth regulations that govern the care and treatment that residents receive in a nursing home.  These laws and regulations govern everything from how many nursing and other staff a nursing home must have, to the kind of care and treatment certain residents must receive to what kinds of services a nursing home must provide to its residents.  Nursing home laws and regulations are in place to see that nursing home residents receive the best care and treatment possible and to protect them from any form of physical, mental or sexual abuse and neglect.  Despite these regulations, nursing home residents are often the victims of neglect or abuse at the hands of those entrusted to care for them.

Unfortunately, it often falls to the families and friends of nursing home residents to recognize tell-tale signs of neglect or abuse and bring it to the attention of the nursing home staff, or even report it to the appropriate state authorities.  The following are common signs of neglect and abuse of nursing home residents that may occur in any nursing home:

  • Bed sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers and skin breakdown anywhere on the body of a resident
  • Malnutrition and failure of the nursing home to provide enough food or adequate nutrition to a resident
  • Dehydration and failure of the nursing home staff to provide enough water or other liquids to a resident
  • Broken bones, cuts, bruises, skin tears or other unexplained injuries may be signs of neglect, abuse or rough handling of a resident by nursing home staff
  • Falls resulting in injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, cuts and bruises may be a sign that the nursing home staff is not providing a safe environment to a resident
  • Changes in the usual mental or emotional state of a resident including becoming withdrawn, exhibiting fear or being frightened of certain nursing home staff or other residents, unexplained crying, not wanting to participate in activities and other signs and symptoms may indicate physical, mental or sexual abuse of a nursing home resident
  • Elopement, leaving or wandering away from the nursing home without supervision may indicate that a resident is not being properly supervised or being provided with a safe environment
  • A resident appearing to be sleepy, lethargic or difficult to arouse may be a sign of overmedication or the use of "chemical restraint" to control the behavior of the resident
  • Misdiagnosis of physical and mental conditions, delay in providing necessary medical treatment or administering incorrect or too much medication

Any of these signs of neglect or abuse may cause severe injury to a resident and in some cases may even cause the resident's premature and wrongful death.  If you suspect that your loved one, a friend or any nursing home resident is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other long term care facility it is important to take immediate action to see that the resident is protected.


The lawyers at Burke Harvey have represented nursing home residents and their families for years and have litigated many of these cases in state and federal courts and in arbitration proceedings. We stand ready to assist you.  Please give us a call or click on the Live Chat button below to connect with one of our attorneys now.