10 Red Flags For Nursing Home Abuse

Signs to look out for if you suspect your loved ones are not getting treated well.
10 Red Flags For Nursing Home Abuse
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Madeleine Jones
October 12, 2020

Nursing homes are vital and necessary for our elderly population. There are many nursing homes that have fine and professional staff. Unfortunately, many others don’t. The result of choosing the wrong nursing home can leave your loved one’s health and well-being in danger of abuse. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of abuse at their nursing home, contact one of our experienced attorneys at Cogburn Law. Read on for the 10 red flags for nursing home abuse you should be on the lookout for. You should carefully consider them to determine whether your loved one is being abused or neglected.

Red Flag #1: Bed Sores

Infographic explaining the 4 stages of bedsores (or pressure ulcers).

Generally, the most common one of the red flags for nursing home abuse is the occurrence of pressure sores, also known as bed sores. This is the result of the patient being confined to their bed and not be moved or altered in their position for a long time. This can decrease proper blood circulation. Improper blood circulation can be deadly and can sometimes be the first step towards gangrene and amputations.

Bedsores are the most common complaint from nursing home abuse clients. The good news is that there is almost always strong supporting evidence of this kind of neglect. There is no acceptable level of bedsore in a patient. If your loved one is experiencing bedsores, you should act immediately. You should relocate them to another facility and contact a bedsore attorney.

Red Flag #2: Dehydration

Water being poured into a glass.

Dehydration is a close second in the most common complaint from nursing home neglect cases. Dehydration often results in kidney failure, which can eventually be deadly. In a study, 40 nursing home resident’s fluid intake was monitored. They found that nearly all of them were not adequately hydrated. And what’s worse, the same study found that 25 out of the 40 patients had diseases caused by dehydration.

Red Flag #3: Increased Patient Complaints

Complaint box ticked in review section.

It’s understandable that older people might be hard to please. However, if you notice your loved one or other patients complain way more than normal about staff, food, or hygiene, don’t hesitate and just assume that the institution is performing accordingly.

Please note that you should not confront the abuser directly. There is no guarantee that you will be able to stop them. If you confront them, they may become angry and retaliate against your loved one. They can even start hiding evidence. This will make it harder for an elder abuse lawyer to help you.

Red Flag #4: Fewer Staff

Nursing Home Staff Holding older persons hand while the older man holds a stress ball.

If you have been noticing fewer staff in your recent visits than before, this could be a sign of a problem. A smaller staff means fewer people that can take care of the patients. Therefore, there are more opportunities for neglect or abuse to happen.

Red Flag #5: Staff Turnover Increasing

We're Hiring Sign because of the high turnover in nursing home staff

Just like in any other business, if they can’t keep good people employed for any time period, there has to be a reason behind that. Employee turnover in nursing homes is a national problem. On the other hand, if this seems like a recent problem in your loved one’s home, stay on top of it and watch for other red flags. When there is high staff turnover, that usually means they often hire less trained caregivers. This can also mean that the nursing home is taking cost-saving decisions, but this should never interfere with your loved one’s care.

Red Flag #6: Reduced Quality of Staff

Quality Nursing Home Staff Member holding hands with elderly person.

If caring and professional employees seem to be getting replaced with careless, inappropriate, and less considerate caregivers, there may be something going wrong. This could be a cost-saving decision, similar to the previous red flag. But, in these circumstances, patient care is almost always compromised.

Red Flag #7: Decline in Staff Morale

Nursing Home Caregiver with head in hands visibly depressed and stressed out.

If you notice the nursing home staff faces seem sourer, with fewer smiles and just overall fewer pleasantries, this might not be a coincidence. Sometimes, staff cutbacks and increased responsibilities without a raise in their salary can often make a less pleasant workplace. This will increase the odds of your loved one being mistreated as underappreciated caregivers could lash out.

Red Flag #8: Decrease in Patient Group and Individual Activities

Old man just sitting on a bench bored.

If when you visit your loved one you leave wondering why there seem to be fewer group activities for the patients to do, this may also be another sign of the decline of the care facility. When a nursing home has a compassionate staff, they organize events, activities, and even outings. These make a huge difference in the quality of life of your loved one.

If the activities decrease, this might reflect on cutbacks to staffing and other expenses, so you should still carefully watch for this. Keeping the patients as mentally active as possible can slow the decline. Your loved ones deserve to live out their final years with a certain level of enjoyment.

Red Flag #9: Decreased Food Quality

Bowl of unappealing porridge in a plain white bowl.

Nursing homes have to deal with the challenges of cooking and including all the dietary considerations of their patients. However, if you have noticed the decrease in food quality, this could be cause for major concern. If the nursing home is cutting back on their food quality, your loved one isn’t probably eating according to their diet restrictions. A healthy diet is imperative for their health.

Red Flag #10 Decreasing Cleanliness and Hygiene Standards

Both standards are critical to your loved one’s well-being. A decreased staff will result in corners being cut when it comes to hygiene. If the caregivers have less time in between caring for individuals it is only natural that they might not have time to properly prepare. In addition, your loved ones’ bedsheets and clothes might only get cleaned once a month if there are fewer people to attend to the laundry.

The Top Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Las Vegas

If you recognize any of these red flags for nursing home abuse, contact one of our nursing home abuse lawyers at Cogburn Law. We can help you determine if you have a case and how much compensation you can get. Your loved one doesn’t deserve this treatment and we will do everything we can to make it right. Contact us today at (702) 748-7777 for a free consultation!

Do you want to learn more about the nursing home abuse claim process? Add your email below and we will send you our guide free of charge.

A few years ago we decided to move my grandfather into a nursing home. It was hard to leave him there but thought it would be the best for him, he would get the care we could no longer give him. But about 6 months ago we started noticing how neglected he seemed to be every time we visited. He was skinnier, didn’t seem to be eating well, didn’t look as clean, and just overall not the same. After talking to a friend, he recommended getting in touch with Cogburn Law. I spoke with Jamie Cogburn and found out we could file a lawsuit against the nursing home. He was amazing and really cared about making it right for my grandfather. We actually received compensation some months later which helped to pay for the new nursing home. We will definitely be recommending Cogburn Law to our friends and family.

Mike R.