7 Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs (Part 1)

March 18, 2014

When a loved one or your family makes the choice to move an elderly family member into a nursing home for some extra support and care, your family wants to be able to trust that your elderly loved one will be properly taken care of and that the move to the nursing home will ultimately provide both comfort and an improved quality of life for the elderly resident.

Up to 10 percent of residents are victims of nursing home abuse. Here are common nursing home abuse warning signs so family members know when to seek help.

Up to 10 percent of residents are victims of nursing home abuse. Here are common nursing home abuse warning signs so family members know when to seek help.

Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse in the U.S.

Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case, as many people who reside in nursing homes become the targets of neglect or abuse at the hands of nursing home staff or possibly even other residents. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has estimated that as many as 10 percent of all nursing home residents in the U.S. were the victims of physical, verbal or sexual abuse within the last year alone (financial abuse was not included in these findings).

What may be possibly as shocking as this high rate of nursing home abuse in the U.S. is the fact that researchers believe that most cases of nursing home abuse go unreported (with some experts estimating that for every one cause of nursing home abuse that is reported, there are about 24 other cases that have not been reported).


Given how prevalent nursing home abuse is in the U.S., as well as the fact that many of these cases of abuse never are reported to the proper authorities, it’s critical that families with loved ones in nursing homes are aware of the warning signs of abuse so that they know when to:

  • Step in.
  • Report possible abuse to the authorities.
  • Meet with an attorney to learn more about their rights and legal options.

Here and in two upcoming parts of this blog, we will take a look at the 7 most common signs of nursing home abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse Sign 1: Significant Weight Loss

When nursing home residents drop a significant, visually noticeable amount of weight very quickly, it can be sign that the resident may be:

  • Dangerously dehydrated malnourished, both of which are forms of nursing home neglect
  • The victim of physical, psychological or sexual abuse, as some victims may stop eating in the aftermath of the trauma.

Although weight loss is a phenomenon that could be attributable to other issues (like, for instance, a medical condition), when a family is unaware of any existing medical condition that may explain substantial weight loss, it’s time to start asking nursing home staff some serious questions about possible abuse.

Look for the upcoming second and third parts of this blog for other common signs of nursing home abuse.

Get a Free Case Evaluation: Portland & Seattle Lawyers

Helping you hold abusive nursing home staff responsible for their negligence and your loved one’s injuries is one of our primary goals. At the Savage Law Firm, our Portland nursing home abuse attorneys have more than three decades of experience defending the rights of the injured and helping them obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.

We encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free, no obligations initial consult. We represent clients in Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle. To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.

Categories: Blog, Nursing Home Abuse, Portland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers, Signs of Abuse