What to Do if you Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

August 8, 2022Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect occur at a shockingly high rate. If you suspect your loved one or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, notify the facility’s administration, as they must check into reported abuse instances and make changes. Then, follow up to see if action is taken, such as launching an investigation or firing the alleged offender. 

Reporting Suspected Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

For additional support or if the nursing home administration is dragging their feet, report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Missouri by: 

  • Filing a report online through the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services website.
  • Calling Adult Protective Services (APS) abuse and neglect hotline at 1-800-392-0210 to speak to a representative. 

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) will review the complaint and assign investigators to the case. If you provide your address, they will send you a letter confirming receipt of your complaint and information on how it will be handled. 

When Should I Contact a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Lawyer?

If you spot warning signs of a nursing home resident being abused, consult a St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer as soon as possible. They will understand the importance of finding answers and holding the nursing home responsible. Nursing homes are required by law to provide residents with a very strict standard of care based on the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, state laws, and industry standards. Therefore, any deviation from their duty exposes the facility to civil and criminal liability. 

A nursing home abuse lawyer will have a thorough understanding of the relevant state laws and the resources to thoroughly investigate your claim. If they determine you have a case, they will explain your options and gather the evidence needed to support taking legal action. 

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Here are the common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect to remain aware of: 

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Open wounds
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Welts
  • Bite marks
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Marks or scars on wrists or other signs of restraint
  • Appearing overmedicated or undermedicated

Sexual Abuse

  • Bleeding from the genital area 
  • Torn or bloody clothing or undergarments
  • Bruises
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or genital infections 
  • Withdrawal, anger, depression, or other emotional changes. 


  • Bedsores
  • Drastic weight loss or malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Deteriorating health
  • Poor hygiene
  • Smelling of urine and/or feces
  • Stained or bloody clothing or bedding
  • Infections
  • Prohibited from seeing visitors

Emotional Abuse 

  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Frequently arguing with the staff.

Financial Abuse

  • Sudden and significant bank withdrawals 
  • Changes in regular banking habits
  • Abrupt changes to a will or estate plan
  • Personal possessions disappearing without an explanation 

Healthcare Abuse

  • Waived deductibles or copays 
  • Incorrect type or dosage of medication being administered
  • Duplicate bills for the same appointment, prescriptions, or procedure 
  • Inappropriate medical billing
  • Inaccurate information on an explanation of benefits form
  • Wrong information on medical bill (i.e., the provider, location, or date information)
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