Nursing Home Negligence: 5 Warning Signs + When to Call A Lawyer

nursing home negligence

As our global population ages, there is a growing need for comprehensive, safe, and reliable professional elder care. According to data from Medicaid, there are over 1.4 million elderly individuals living in nursing homes across the country, and those numbers are likely to rise.

When you make the tough personal decision to put a parent or grandparent into nursing care, you expect they will be treated with professionalism and respect. However, elderly Americans in nursing homes are uniquely vulnerable… especially since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services, almost 650,000 nursing home residents have contracted Covid-19, with over 130,000 deaths nationwide. If that wasn’t enough, elder abuse in nursing homes has become an issue as well. 1 in 10 elders is estimated to suffer some form of abuse according to the American National Council on Aging, while millions of cases going unreported.

If you suspect inappropriate or harmful behavior is going on in the professional nursing facility that’s caring for your loved one, let’s discuss some of the warning signs of neglect and when to call a lawyer.

Common Warning Signs + Their Implications

As the amount of nursing home residents increases, so do the potential risks for your family member. Neglect can be financial, emotional, mental, or physical, and take many insidious forms. Let’s discuss common behavioral changes in your loved one that may be a red flag.

1.   Increased Fear And Anxiety

If your family member is experiencing increased fear or anxiety, this may be a sign of emotional neglect or mistreatment. Be sure that both your family and your long-term care facility are taking steps to prioritize mental health as well as the physical wellbeing of your loved one.

2.   Sudden Displays Of Confusion

If your formerly lucid family member is displaying confusion, this may also be a sign of neglect. Additionally, notice if your loved one acts differently in the presence of nursing home staff.

3.   Withdrawal Or Unusual Behavior

If your formerly outgoing family member is withdrawing or exhibiting disinterest in activities he or she used to love, this could be a red flag.

4.   Physical Warning Signs

If your family member is exhibiting physical warning signs like unusual and rapid weight loss, dehydration, poor hygiene, or any other unexplained injuries, you may need to take immediate action.

5.   Missing Aids For Daily Living

Lacking objects needed for daily living assistance such as glasses, canes, or hearing aids can impair your loved one and could be a telling sign that something unsavory is going on.

When You May Need To Seek Legal Help

Even if you put your trust in an accredited nursing home, there is a chance this could happen to your family member. Not all nursing homes are created equal. For example, in Illinois, over 41% of nursing homes are considered “below average,” according to Medicaid data. If you are in a big city like Chicago, you must be extra vigilant in choosing who you trust with the care of your loved ones. 

If your family member is exhibiting any of the warning signs discussed above while under the supervision of a long-term care facility, you may want to consider contacting a lawyer.

According to the Federal Nursing Home Care Reform Act of 1987, all elderly residents in a nursing home facility are entitled to receive the best medical care possible under the law. If you believe this law is being broken and your loved one is suffering neglect from their caregivers, contact a personal injury lawyer to fight for the rights of your loved ones and get your family the compensation you deserve.


If you have taken the time to place a family member in a trusted nursing home facility, it can be stressful to think that harm may befall your loved one. No one wants to face the reality that this may happen to someone you love.

If you are witnessing any of the warning signs discussed above in your loved one, a personal injury lawyer can help get justice for your family and bring you peace of mind.

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