Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most common and potentially life-threatening conditions at a nursing home. When the body does not receive an adequate amount of water, this is an obvious symptom of abuse or neglect in nursing homes. Symptoms include dry, cracked lips and skin.
Weight Loss: Sudden, drastic weight loss is another sign that your loved ones are not being cared for properly.
Bedsores: Also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, bedsores are caused by prolonged pressure or rubbing on vulnerable areas of the body. These types of injuries are not normal and can be prevented. Bedsores often occur when a person has not been properly turned, cared for or given enough water, and are a key sign that someone has been abused or neglected.
Broken Bones: Multiple broken bones are a sign that facility staff are being careless when they move your loved one. Some residents may have specific orders on how they are supposed to be moved. If the staff does not correctly follow mobility orders it can results in spills and falls that break residents' fragile bones.
Behavioral Changes: Has your loved one become unusually upset or agitated, extremely withdrawn, or non-communicative? Does he or she act differently when a particular staff member is around? Has an unusual behavior, such as rocking in bed or thumb-sucking developed? If so, you may be witnessing the effects of emotional and/or physical abuse. Sometimes residents won't tell you what is happening to them for fear of retaliation by facility staff, so it is important to pay attention to how your loved one responds to the nursing home environment.
Unsanitary Conditions: You expect your loved one to reside in a clean, healthy environment. If you discover that your loved one has been lying in his or her waste, this is a sign of neglect. It may not be obvious, so discrete examination of undergarments and skin to see if they are soiled may be necessary.
Malnutrition: Malnutrition is more than just not getting enough to eat. It also can mean not getting enough vitamins and minerals in food or not being able to process food after eating. The nursing home should make sure your loved one is being properly fed, and are expected to help assist those who cannot feed themselves.