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sick elderly woman in a hospital bed

When a senior citizen gets to the point in their life where they are no longer able to safely be left alone or care for themselves, their family may decide to place them in a nursing home so that they can receive the care they need. Many families are not in a position to care for their elderly loved ones at home, so they place their trust in the nursing home and the staff that their loved ones will be taken care of with the dignity, respect, and kindness they deserve, never considering their loved one could become a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Tragically, as national statistics bear out, far too many elderly nursing home residents become victims of abuse and neglect. While legitimate accidents can happen at nursing homes, many injuries residents suffer are intentionally inflicted. The following are some of the more common signs of abuse or neglect that should alert family members that something is wrong. If your loved one has been injured, contact our office to speak with one of our Norfolk nursing home attorneys.


Residents who are bedridden and cannot move themselves must be turned every couple of hours. Otherwise, if a resident is left in one position for an extended time period, they will likely develop pressure ulcers, also referred to as bedsores. The most common areas where these ulcers develop are where the resident’s body touches the bed – the tailbone, the hips, elbows, and ankles. These pressure ulcers can become seriously infected, which can then lead to life-threatening conditions, including death.

Medication Errors

By the time an elderly resident comes to a nursing home, they are likely on many medications for the different medical conditions they have. However, one of the areas of nursing home abuse – which has seen an alarming increase over the past few years – is overmedicating residents. When a resident requires a lot of care or becomes difficult to deal with (common with residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia), nursing home staff will overmedicate them in order to keep them drugged up and quiet.

There are also the risks of residents being given the incorrect dosage of medication or the wrong medicine entirely, especially in facilities where there are staff shortages and staff is overworked.

Malnutrition and Dehydration

It is hard to imagine in this day and age in Virginia or anywhere in the United States that a nursing home resident would be suffering from malnutrition and/or dehydration. However, this type of neglect and abuse is becoming more and more common as staffing issues continue to be a major problem in many homes. Signs that a resident may be suffering from malnutrition include anemia, broken bones, low blood pressure, and tooth decay. Signs of dehydration include difficulty swallowing, depression, and cognitive and functional impairment. Either one of these conditions can lead to seizures and death.


One of the leading causes of injury-related deaths in nursing homes and other elderly facilities is falling. The staff at these facilities should be watching over each resident, making sure there are handrails and other available furniture aids to help ensure each resident’s safety.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today

If your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a Norfolk nursing home abuse attorney to find out what legal recourse your family may have. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we have been aggressively advocating for victims for more than three decades and have helped many nursing home abuse victims receive compensation for their injuries, as well as hold the perpetrators who committed the abuse responsible, like the $300,000 arbitration award we obtained for one elderly client who suffered a fall from her nursing home bed resulting in a serious fracture of her left tibia and fibula. Due to our client’s previous medical issues, the fractures could not be treated surgically, and she ultimately underwent an above-the-knee amputation of her left leg.

Contact our office today to set up a free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated

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