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Watching for nursing home injuries

There are many reasons you may not be able to care for a loved one at home. For many families, getting help through a nursing home or other care provider can help relieve stress and tension that can build up when trying to provide care alone.

While many facilities provide quality care, there are still reports of nursing home abuse. In some cases, it might be a specific employee; in others, an entire facility may have negligent practices.

If you have a  loved one in a care facility, these are some of the signs you should watch for that could mean abuse.

Unexplained injuries

Everyone gets the occasional bump or bruise. As your loved one ages, they may become more vulnerable to bruising in general. There may not be a specific explanation for every bump and bruise, but injuries should be documented and make sense. For example, bruised shins tend to be common because it is easy to bump into a desk or table while walking.

In addition to unexplained injuries, pay attention to the explanations for injuries in general. While staff may have an answer for how an injury happened, it may not make sense with what you know about your loved one.


Sleep is an essential part of every human’s daily life. Sleep is when our body rests to heal from illness or injury, and it is how we can have energy for the next day. Watch for signs your loved one is not sleeping, such as:

  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Increase in clumsiness
  • Dozing during activities or conversations

Sleep is a vulnerable process. If your loved one does not feel safe in the care facility, they may have trouble sleeping.

Detection can be difficult

Depending on their age and cultural profile, your loved one may have difficulty telling you that there are problems with their care facility. They may also try to conceal evidence of injuries like scrapes or bruises.

Talk to your loved one about the care they receive when you are not present. If possible, consider taking your friend or family member on an outing to another location to discuss their care. Your loved one may not be comfortable talking about abusive or neglectful care at the facility and may fear troublesome staff are listening.

If your friend or family member expresses concerns, take them seriously. Let your loved one know that you will be an advocate for them, even if they are no longer living at home.

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