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Nursing home abuse and neglect are unfortunately more common than you may want to think. According to the World Health Organization between 2017 and 2018, 1 in 6 adults aged 60 or older suffered some type of abuse while in a community setting, like a nursing home. This statistic is most likely higher as nursing home abuse, and elder abuse, in general, go greatly underreported.

If a caregiver is intentionally harming a patient, that is abuse. Abuse often involves denying a patient’s needs such as food, water, and medical treatment. It can also include physical and financial harm. Nursing home neglect is an unintentional failure by the caregiver. Examples of neglect are failing to follow the patient’s or resident’s care plan, ignoring calls for assistance, failing to maintain the patient’s hygiene, or otherwise failing to meet social, physical, or emotional needs.

If your loved one is in a nursing home or hospice facility, there are a few warning signs you can watch for to protect your loved ones from elder abuse or neglect.

3 Signs of Abuse in a Nursing Home

1. Changes in general well-being to be aware of:
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Frequent infections
  • Unmet medical needs (like scheduled doses or missed appointments)
  • Poor hygiene or unclean conditions
  • Dirty clothing or bed sheets
2. Physical signs of nursing home abuse to be aware of:
  • Bed injuries like bedsores (pressure ulcers), side rail injuries, or even strangulation
  • Reports of falling or evidence of past falls (indicating the resident is not receiving appropriate assistance moving around, getting out of the bed, or using the bathroom)
  • Unexplained broken bones or fractures, bruises, cuts, or welts (these may be at various stages of healing)
  • Head injuries
3. Social or behavioral changes that may indicate nursing home abuse:
  • Inadequate time for socialization
  • Withdrawal from social interactions or refusal to speak
  • Emotional outbursts or new changes in behavior
  • Nurses or caregivers refusing to allow the patient to be alone with loved ones or the resident appears reluctant to speak in caregiver’s presence

Should I hire a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer?

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect in a nursing home or hospice facility, do not hesitate to remove your loved one from the facility. Be sure to document any injuries if possible, but let a skilled nursing home abuse and neglect attorney help you take on the nursing home or hospice facility. Nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can help you obtain settlements large enough to cover temporary or lifelong costs associated with medical mismanagement and other nursing home or inpatient facility injuries.

Attorney Molly C. Lavin


Molly Lavin is a Shareholder with the Firm and co-managing partner of the Waukesha office. She is a second-generation lawyer, following in the footsteps of her father. Molly focuses her practice in the area of general personal injury law. This means that Molly has handled cases with a varied set of facts. Many of her cases involve injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. She has also handled cases involving nursing home injuries, slip and falls, sexual assaults, dog bites, pharmacy errors, and injuries caused by home or building owners and/or contractors.

Molly graduated cum laude from Marquette University Law School and received her B.S. from the University of Dayton.

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Attorney Benjamin S. Wagner


Benjamin S. Wagner is a shareholder with the firm. His practice includes nursing home abuse and neglect, personal injury, car accidents, construction accidents, premises liability incidents, wrongful death and motorcycle accidents. Benjamin has successfully tried numerous cases throughout Wisconsin. Because of his significant trial experience and success, he has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and as an advocate by the National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy.

He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2003 and received the Phillips Owens Memorial Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement and community service.

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