Recognizing Nursing Home Abuse

Would you be able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse if your loved one was being abused? Some signs of abuse and neglect in nursing homes can be subtle.  This is true regardless of the nursing home or whether it is located in Kansas City or anywhere in Kansas and Missouri.  It can be difficult to distinguish between symptoms of health conditions or signs of abuse. 

One of the first steps you can take is to review the various types of nursing home abuse and a list of common signs of nursing home abuse. If you have the least suspicion that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, it may wise to contact a Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney immediately to discuss your fears and learn more about what steps to take to protect your loved one after nursing home abuse.

Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse 

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect

Physical abuse is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse. Patients may be slapped, kicked, shaken, pulled, pushed, or hit by staff members, visitors, or other patients. Physical abuse can cause a variety of injuries, including cuts, bruises, abrasions, broken bones, brain injuries, neck injuries, and black eyes.

warning signs of nursing home abuse kansas missouri.jpgEmotional abuse is also common in many nursing homes. Staff members may curse at patients or yell at them. They may call them names, humiliate them, or demean them. They may use threats to cause fear and anxiety. Staff members may purposefully isolate patients to make them feel more vulnerable and threatened.

Financial abuse and sexual abuse are also common in nursing homes. Theft of a patient’s property or mismanagement of a patient’s account can be considered financial abuse. Identity theft and forgery are also common forms of financial abuse in nursing homes. Sexual abuse can take the form of any unwanted touching or sexual activity with a patient. Many patients in nursing homes are incapacitated to some degree, either physically or mentally, so they are unable to fight back or report the abuse. 

Neglect of personal care is another form of nursing home abuse. Failing to bathe, change, or feed patients can have devastating consequences. Patients can develop life-threatening infections and injuries because of nursing home neglect. They can also develop mental and emotional disorders from neglect and abuse. 

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect 

There are many warning signs associated with nursing home abuse or neglect. Some of the common signs that a patient might be the victim of abuse in a nursing home include:

  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Unexplained infections, including UTIs, sexually transmitted infections, respiratory infections, skin infections, gastroenteritis, etc.
  • Bed sores or pressure ulcers
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Emotionally agitated and upset when family members leave
  • Begging not to be left with staff members
  • Reluctance to speak in front of staff members
  • Unclean and unsanitary conditions
  • Missing items or money
  • Fear of being touched
  • Rocking back and forth, biting, or sucking
  • Sudden and unexplained isolation, withdrawal, and non-communication
  • Heavy mediation or sedation without reasonable explanations
  • Use of restraints (bruises around ankles and wrists)
  • Wandering about the facility unsupervised 
  • Injuries from falls or other causes that require emergency treatment or hospitalization 

The above list is not a complete list of signs that could indicate nursing home abuse. One of the best ways to determine if your family member may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect is to visit often and pay close attention to the facility, staff members, and your family member’s condition. Any changes or unexplained incidents warrant further investigation.

What Should I Do If My Family Member is Abused in a Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you should report the nursing home as soon as possible. You can call 911 if a nursing home resident is in immediate harm or danger. You can also contact social services or the Department of Health in the county in which the nursing home is located. 

You can also contact a Kansas City nursing home attorney. An attorney can investigate the matter to determine if your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse. Because proving abuse can be a difficult undertaking, it is helpful to have an experienced Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer on your side from the beginning. Your lawyer will guide you through the steps you need to take to protect your loved one now and in the future. Your attorney will also help you fight to hold the parties responsible for the abuse accountable for their actions. 

Contact a Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for More Information 

Our Kansas City law firm has experience representing families of nursing home abuse victims and our nursing home abuse attorney is licensed in Missouri and Kansas. We are here to help you and your loved one seek justice and compensation for the wrongdoing committed by people who were trusted to care for your loved one. 


Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with a nursing home lawyer near you.


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS
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