No one wants to face the prospect of their loved one being in the nursing home. Many dread this prospect. They have heard heartbreaking stories of patients being abused by nursing home staff.

Sadly, nursing home abuse is a cruel reality. Sometimes those charged with caring for the elderly and disabled in nursing homes find it easy to take advantage of their vulnerable state.

This sad reality means you need to know ways you can protect your loved one if they have to be in the nursing home.

Ways to Protect against Nursing Home Abuse

There are some actions you can take to protect your loved one from nursing home abuse before admitting them to a nursing home:

Speak With Loved One’s Medical Providers

To best help your loved one you need to understand as much as you can about their medical condition. Speaking with your loved one’s doctors, nurses, and other caregivers can help you understand the specific needs your loved one has to maintain their best health. Knowing this information will help you determine if a nursing home can adequately care for your loved one’s needs.

Research Nursing Home Safety Records

Because nursing homes are government licensed and regulated there is publicly available information, you can access to check and compare nursing home safety records. Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website offers one of the best tools to access such information about nursing homes in your area. The website provides information about:

  • Nursing home ownership
  • Nursing home facility size
  • Nursing home staffing to patient ratio
  • Nursing home performances on health and fire safety inspections
  • Nursing homes that have had issues related to preventing abuse
  • Nursing Homes that have had significant issues maintaining compliance

Tour Nursing Homes

Visiting nursing homes before admitting your loved one can provide important insight into determining which facility is the “right place” for your loved one. You can see with your own eyes how the staff maintains its facility and the state of care of its residents. You can speak with the nursing home administration to learn about staff to resident ratio, the staff’s capability of caring for your loved one’s specific needs, and about their compliance with safety inspections.

Learn about Nursing Home Patient Rights 

Nursing home residents have certain rights protected by law. Also, most facilities will have their own rules and regulations to protect the residents’ rights. Knowing about these rights, rules, and regulations beforehand can help you protect your loved one after they enter the nursing home.

 Once your loved one is in a nursing home, the best way you can help protect them is to visit often. Visiting your loved one often gives you the opportunity to observe the care they receive and better detect any signs of abuse.

Nursing home abuse can come in many forms. Here are the most common forms of abuse and warning signs to look for:

Physical Abuse

Cuts, bruises, suspicious marks on the person’s face or body, or broken bones can be signs of physical abuse.


Signs of malnutrition and dehydration could indicate neglect by the staff. Other signs of neglect could include bedsores and lesions, unclean rooms, dirty bed linens, and a resident’s lack of hygiene.

Emotional Abuse

A loved one’s noticeable fear or anxiety around a particular caretaker could indicate said caretaker has verbally or psychologically abused them. Other indications of emotional abuse could include sudden changes in personality, such as uncharacteristic anger or sadness, and unusual behavior such as mumbling, rocking back and forth, sucking one’s thumb, or pulling one’s hair.

Sexual Abuse

Victims of sexual abuse may exhibit warning signs such as depression, withdrawal or other personality changes. They may also show physical symptoms such as bruising near the genitals or around the breasts, or bleeding around the vaginal or anal areas.

Getting Help If Your Love One Has Been Abused

If you suspect your loved one has been abused in the nursing home, you need to report it as soon as possible. You can start by reporting to the nursing home administration. But, you may also need to report the abuse to your state’s regulating agency.

If your loved one has suffered an injury because of nursing home abuse, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to help you better protect your loved one and get the nursing home to compensate for your loved one’s pain and suffering.

Brock & Stout’s personal injury attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping clients fight against nursing home abuse. Contact us for a free evaluation to see if we can help you and your loved one.