Moving a parent to a nursing home can be a difficult decision. Understanding the signs of neglect or abuse in a long-term care setting can help you monitor the level of care your loved one receives. 

Seek help if you notice any of these changes after placing an older family member in a nursing home environment. 

Emotional symptoms of neglect and abuse

Seniors who experience poor treatment may: 

  • Be afraid of being alone 
  • Be on edge, uneasily startled or nervous 
  • Stop eating normally 
  • Have sleeping problems 
  • Experience mood swings 
  • Develop new fears 
  • Seem agitated 
  • Speak less 
  • Withdraw from loved ones, friends and activities 
  • Try to leave the nursing home unsupervised 

Always take reports of abuse or neglect from your family member seriously, even if he or she displays confusion. 

Physical signs of mistreatment

When you visit your loved one, be aware of physical changes such as: 

  • Fatigued or exhausted appearance 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Injuries, bruises and cuts with no reasonable explanation 
  • Lack of personal hygiene and care 
  • Bedsores or pressure sores 
  • Signs of dehydration 

You should also note whether the room seems clean and has your family member’s personal items in order. Missing paperwork, documents, checkbooks or credit cards could be a red flag of financial exploitation. 

If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in Tennessee, you can file a complaint with the state’s Department of Health. Your family may also have grounds for a medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuit on behalf of your injured loved one. You have only one year from the incident date to file this type of claim in Tennessee.