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There may come a time in your life when you must make the difficult decision to admit a loved one into a nursing home. This decision is never easy.

Finding a nursing home you can trust takes time. When that trust is abused, and negligence occurs, recognize the signs and take action. Here are five signs of nursing home negligence. Three involve actual abuse (physical/sexual, financial, and emotional). Two involve neglect and abandonment. Following are the signs of nursing home negligence:

Physical and Sexual Abuse

Unexplained wounds or injuries are signs of physical abuse. Sometimes the injuries are not obvious. If possible, talk with your loved one about how they feel. For example, ask if they are in pain. Signs of physical abuse range from bruises to broken bones. Also, if a doctor sees your loved one quite often, ask why the need for so many visits.

Be aware, the nursing home could be hiding injuries from you. Abuse can occur as sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes sexually transmitted diseases or infections or injury to genitalia or the anal area. Again, these injuries may not be obvious, so asking your loved one questions is important.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse happens often because most nursing home patients can’t manage their own finances. Signs of financial abuse include missing property and unexplained charges on bills. To this end, make sure you regularly check finances and ask about anything you don’t understand on the bill.

Emotional Abuse

Signs of emotional abuse include anxiety, fear of medical staff and refusing care. Because there is no physical evidence, emotional abuse is hard to prove. Ask your loved one how they like the nursing staff. In addition, ask if they have a favorite nurse. These questions may help you find out if anything is wrong.


Negligence in nursing homes is failing to meet the standard of care for a patient that results in serious illness or injury. For nursing home patients, neglect includes being underfed, dehydrated, bad hygiene, or bedsores. Also, if your loved one complains about not being seen by a doctor when requesting one, this can be negligence.


Abandonment occurs when a patient’s conditions are unsanitary or dirty. Therefore, if the your loved one’s room, bathroom, bed or person is always dirty, the nursing home has been negligent. Abandoning a person who cannot care for themselves is heartless and wrong.

If you believe your loved one has experienced nursing home negligence, it is important to seek legal help. Gerling Law is here to answer your questions.

Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients.

If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464).

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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