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Signs of Abuse or Neglect

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect


At The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman, our Santa Rosa elder abuse lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping families obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve after their loved ones have been harmed. A nursing home abuse injury should never be tolerated. Call (707) 575-7141 for a free initial consultation.

You might notice obvious signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, such as open wounds or bruising. Other signs may not be so obvious. Your senior loved one may suddenly be uncommunicative. He or she might be depressed over a long period of time, but isn't talking about it.



The warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect come in many different forms, none of which should be discounted. Unfortunately, not all of these warning signs are easily identifiable; in fact, some are so inconspicuous that they can be extremely difficult to identify. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect of any degree, then you should be on the lookout for signs that are both obvious and hidden because either can be indicative of a serious problem.

If you sense that something is wrong, don't hesitate to talk to an experienced California nursing home lawyer. We understand what you're going through. Many of our clients came to us after noticing signs of abuse or neglect, such as:

  • Bed sores
  • A sudden loss of weight
  • Injuries that the staff cannot explain, including broken bones or broken hip
  • Injuries requiring emergency treatment
  • Poor hygiene
  • Fecal or urine odors
  • Over-sedation (your loved one may be asleep or lethargic every time you visit)
  • Unusual bruising
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Burns
  • Abrasions
  • Open wounds
  • Infections
  • Clothing or bedding that is torn / stained / bloody

Less Obvious Warning Signs of Abuse & Neglect

  • Physical or emotional withdrawal
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Listlessness
  • Missing personal items
  • Infantile / strange behaviors
  • Unusual financial transactions

Any of the warning signs listed above should be taken as a red flag that something is amiss. No matter what level of care your loved one is under, there is no justification for abusive or neglectful behaviors of any sort. Therefore, we urge you to keep out an eye for both obvious and not so obvious signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, and to then alert our firm of any suspicions that you might have. With The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman on your side, you can better address instances of this nature.

Since 1957, our law firm has been dedicated to helping the victims of personal injury and wrongful treatment to recover the financial compensation that they deserve after being mistreated in any way. We are prepared to do the same for you if you have identified signs of neglect or abuse, so don't hesitate to contact our office today to speak to a personal injury lawyer on the team about the details of your case.


At The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman, our nursing home abuse lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping families obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve after their loved ones have been harmed. Nursing home abuse should never be tolerated, and if you have reason to suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, call us immediately at (707) 575-7141. Even if you do not yet have proof, bring the case to us for a free consultation so a Santa Rosa personal injury attorney can help you investigate the situation.

Your family member may be hesitant to speak out, either out of shame or fear of reprisals, and safeguarding him or her from further harm may depend on you taking action now. You might notice obvious signs of nursing home abuse or neglect such as open wounds or bruising. Other signs may not be so obvious. Your loved one may suddenly be uncommunicative, or he or she might be depressed over a long period of time without giving you any reason for the change in behavior. If you have the feeling that something just isn't right, do not hesitate to look for the cause.


Although many nursing home facilities provide care that is above and beyond adequate, there are still some that fail to deliver the duties required of them. When this is the case, immediate action must be taken so further abuse and / or neglect can be avoided in the future. Among the first steps you should take if you suspect mistreatment of any kind are:

  • Remain rational – Don't jump to conclusions that could cause your temper to rise and your actions to reflect anger. Now more than ever is the time to stay calm and cool; your elderly loved on depends on it. When your thoughts are clear and your mood is level, you'll be much more able to work toward a resolution for the matter at hand.
  • Question nursing home staff – If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect of any degree, you don't have to remain quiet; in fact, keeping these suspicions to yourself could be detrimental to your elderly loved one. Instead, inquire into the care being given at the facility. Both staff members and management of the nursing home can be asked about the level of treatment that they are providing. There's always a chance that what was perceived as abuse or neglect was actually not. If the facility's staff is willing to openly discuss the matter, you can obtain a much clearer understanding of the situation at hand.
  • Voice your concerns to your loved one – A private conversation between you and your elderly loved one could help you solidify whether or not your suspicions are true. Oftentimes, residents are unwilling or scared to bring forward this type of information on their own, but they can be convinced to discuss the matter in private with a close friend or family member. If management does not allow for a private conversation of this nature, then you can take this as a warning flag that something is not right.
  • Take written notes – If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, then it's okay to be nosy. A good nursing home staff member won't mind you asking questions or taking notes about what you see. If there's nothing to hide, then the staff should have no problem with you asking questions and jotting down the answers that you're given.

The above points are steps that can be taken in the early stages of your suspicions. Once these steps have been completed, however, additional action might be necessary. If the situation yields evidence which proves that your suspicions were correct, you should work with a nursing home abuse lawyer to complete the following:

You can't turn back the clock, but you can immediately take the following steps to stop the abuse or neglect of your loved one and protect your legal rights:

  1. Notify the head of the facility. Make sure your complaints are documented in writing.
  2. Follow-up by visiting often and at different times of the day to determine if the nursing home has addressed the problem.
  3. Contact a doctor if your loved one has been injured.
  4. Talk to a California ombudsman, who can investigate and address your concerns.
  5. Contact an experienced nursing home lawyer to discuss any possible legal action.


At The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman, a nursing home abuse lawyer is prepared to protect your legal rights. If your loved one was injured, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including expenses related to future care. Call (707) 575-7141 or contact us online today for a free initial consultation.

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The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman is committed to answering your questions about Personal Injury and Nursing Home Abuse law issues in Santa Rosa and throughout Northern California. We offer a free consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.