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The Different Kinds Of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home or another long-term care facility, it is important to understand the signs of abuse. All too often, adults who are ordinarily fully capable of advocating for themselves find that they can’t bring themselves to speak about their mistreatment. Additionally, many adults who live in such facilities are not in a position to advocate for themselves. In either scenario, a loved one may be all that stands between a resident and additional mistreatment.

Many people hear the word abuse and immediately think about the intentional infliction of physical harm. While there is no question that physical abuse is certainly abuse, it is not the only kind of treatment that is classified as abuse. Understanding the various kinds of abuse that plague nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can help to ensure that you know what to look for in nuanced ways.

Physical Abuse

As an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer – including those who practice at Therman Law Offices, LTD. – can confirm, physical abuse is often the easiest form of abuse to identify. Even so, many families are distressed to learn that this kind of mistreatment can present in ways that are both disturbing and not immediately obvious.

For example, you may be able to identify bruises on a loved one’s face immediately and start wondering if they’ve been hit. But is your mind going to jump to physical abuse if your loved one is repeatedly prescribed antibiotics for urinary tract infections? Although this isn’t an immediately obvious sign of physical abuse, frequent infections involving someone’s voiding function or genitals can indicate sexual abuse.

Furthermore, many of the emotional and social “tells” related to neglect and emotional abuse may apply to physically abusive situations as well.


Neglect occurs when residents aren’t provided with basic access to something that they need. Dehydration, malnutrition, inadequate medical care, inadequate hygiene, and even lack of access to social outlets and the ability to communicate with loved ones are forms of neglect. If your loved one’s basic needs aren’t being met, it’s time to speak with an attorney about protecting their rights.  

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be particularly difficult to identify but can also break someone’s spirit faster than virtually anything else. If you notice that your loved one seems afraid of their caregivers – or one in particular – is withdrawing socially and/or emotionally, is acting in uncharacteristically erratic ways, isn’t sleeping, etc., you may have valid reasons to be concerned that they’re experiencing emotional abuse.


Exploitation generally involves benefiting from someone’s financial accounts and/or identity either without that individual’s permission or via deceptive means. Keep a regular watch on your loved one’s financial accounts, credit report, social media accounts, and email (if possible and appropriate). If money starts to go missing, accounts are opened in their name by someone else, etc., or if your loved one suddenly changes their estate plan to benefit a new party in ways that don’t make sense, they may be in an exploitative situation.