When you moved your loved one into a nursing home or long-term care facility, you believed this would be a safe place that would treat your loved one well and take care of her needs.

Now you either know or suspect that something is wrong.

Elder abuse in nursing homes and long-term care facilities is common. Unfortunately, it is much too common.

In most cases it is the families who have to monitor the care their loved one is getting. Sometimes it isn’t easy to really tell if elder abuse or nursing home neglect is happening.


We call it elder abuse — or nursing home neglect — when an individual who is elderly, or vulnerable because of their health, receives inadequate care or is taken advantage of.

But elder abuse also includes dependent adults who may live in a nursing home due to a medical condition.

Elder abuse can be:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Sexual

Sometimes the nursing home resident is not fully aware of what is happening to them. Others might be too afraid or too confused to tell you what is happening to them.

If your loved one suffers from some degree of dementia or confusion, they might try to tell you, but, understandably, you may not be sure how much to believe.

If you suspect elder abuse or nursing home neglect, you must take action. Your family member is dependent on you for protecting them.

First, take photographs of any bruises on your loved one or the conditions you find them in.

Secondly, talk to the nurses, aides, and other residents. Try to find out what happened. Speak to the director of the home immediately.

Follow up with your meeting with the director with a letter documenting your concerns and any agreements the director made to you.

If the situation is not resolved, contact elder abuse attorney Bill Newkirk at The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk.

It is important that you look for signs of elder abuse or nursing home neglect.

These often include:

  • Unexplained bruises, lacerations, scratches, cuts, pinch marks, rope burns.
  • Bruises around breast or genitals, unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, or torn, stained and bloody clothing.
  • Frequent falls or unexplained fractures.
  • Weight loss.
  • Bedsores, particularly on buttocks, heels, elbows, shoulder blades, or hips.
  • Dehydration, including dry and cracked lips.
  • Malnutrition
  • Restraints used in place of caring for your loved one.
  • Signs of feces or urine on your family member, including the smell of urine in the facility.
  • Poor hygiene.

There also may be unexplained personality changes, such as unexplainable:

  • Fear
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal
  • Denial
  • Non-responsiveness
In most cases, The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk takes elder abuse and nursing home neglect cases on a contingency basis. This means you pay no fees until the matter has been resolved.

Free Consultation with an Elder Abuse Attorney
Bill Newkirk is experienced in representing the elderly and dependent adults who have suffered elder abuse or nursing home neglect. He is familiar with elder law and with the pressures you are under to care for your family member.

Contact Bill Newkirk at The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION.

  • Find out who owns the nursing home. Research shows that residents tend to receive better care at nonprofit facilities.
  • Visit the nursing home at different times of the day and night. Do not tell the staff when you are coming.
  • Are the hallways and public areas wide enough to navigate wheelchairs and walkers? Are there handrails on the walls?
  • Is the facility clean? Are there any unpleasant odors?
  • Are there a lot of residents in beds or just sitting idly in the hallways? Do they seem to be in stupors or “out-of-it”? This could be a sign of over-medication.
  • Is water available and easily accessible to residents?
  • Is the staff attentive and responsive to residents? Is there enough staff? If medical attention is necessary, how many registered nurses are on each floor?
  • Does there seem to be any language barriers between staff and residents?
  • Is there an activities director and is an activities schedule posted. Observe a couple of activities. Are residents engaged? Ask what activities are provided to bed-ridden residents.
  • Does the nursing home accept Medicaid? AsK what will happen when the Medicaid funds run out. Will the resident be permitted to stay once she is on Medicare? Get any agreement in writing as nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been known to evict residents when their Medicaid ran out.

You Absolutely Must:

Check the facility’s history. Regardless of whether you are looking for an assisted living facility, nursing home, or long-term care facility, you want to check the place’s history.

You want to get:

  • The facility’s state inspection
  • The facility’s complaint history

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The federal government provides information about long-term care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. If a facility does not accept Medicare or Medicaid it will not be included on this site.


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