Other Leading Causes: Certain Illnesses May Reveal Nursing Home Abuse


Senior couple and healthcare worker communicating during home visit.

Are you concerned about a loved one’s health in a nursing home? It’s important to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, as certain illnesses can be a telltale sign that abuse is happening. Let’s explore some of the illnesses that may indicate that a resident is being abused and what to do if you suspect your loved one is being mistreated.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be a sign of abuse in an elderly resident in a nursing home. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract and can cause pain and difficulty urinating. In the elderly, UTIs can be caused by improper hygiene, not drinking enough fluids, or not being able to properly clean themselves due to physical or cognitive impairments. Each of these needs require assistance and if aides are neglecting this care in any way, it can further exacerbate the disease. UTIs can also be caused by physical or sexual abuse. Elderly nursing home residents who are unable to speak up for themselves are more vulnerable to abuse and are more likely to develop UTIs. 

UTIs can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain or burning when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, frequent urination, and a strong odor to the urine. These symptoms can lead to further health problems, such as dehydration or a weakened immune system. In severe cases, the UTI can lead to a kidney infection, which can be life-threatening. 

Septic Shock

Septic shock is a life-threatening medical condition caused by a severe infection in the bloodstream. It is most commonly caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by a virus, fungus, or another type of infection. Septic shock can be caused or worsened by abuse or neglect in nursing homes. It is most often caused by an infection that spreads from an open wound or a wound that was not properly treated. If a nursing home resident is not given proper medical care for an infection, it can quickly spread and lead to septic shock.

Dehydration, poor nutrition, and lack of hygiene can also contribute to the development of septic shock as these can weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to infection. In addition, if a nursing home resident is not given the proper medications or treatments for an existing infection, it can worsen and potentially lead to septic shock.

Septic shock can result in death if not immediately and properly treated. In severe cases, wrongful death lawsuits are filed against nursing homes for abuse that led to the death of a resident. The family of the deceased may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and other damages.

Pressure Sores

Pressure sores, also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers, are sores that develop due to prolonged pressure on an area of the skin. They usually occur in areas of the body where bones are close to the skin, such as the heels, hips, and elbows, and in areas where there is little muscle or fat to cushion the skin. Pressure sores can be caused by a variety of factors, including immobility, poor nutrition, and inadequate hygiene.

If a resident is left in one position for too long, the constant pressure on their skin can lead to the development of pressure sores. Poor nutrition can also contribute to the development of pressure sores as the body needs proper nutrition to heal. Inadequate hygiene is also a major factor in the development of pressure sores. If the skin is not cleaned properly or the resident is not given the proper clothing, friction on the skin can lead to the development of pressure sores.

Physical and sexual abuse can also cause or worsen existing pressure sores. The trauma of being abused can lead to a weakened immune system, making it more difficult for the resident to heal. In addition, physical abuse can cause direct trauma to the skin, leading to the development of sores.


Influenza, also known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to serious health complications, especially in elderly nursing home residents. The virus can be spread through close contact with an infected person, through the air, or by touching an infected surface. Abuse or neglect in nursing homes can increase the risk of residents contracting the flu, as well as worsen existing symptoms. 

Residents who are not given proper nutrition or hydration can be more vulnerable to contracting the virus and can develop more severe symptoms. If a resident is not given the proper medications or treatments, the infection can worsen and lead to complications such as pneumonia or other serious illnesses. In addition, residents who are not kept in clean and sanitary environments can be more likely to contract the virus. 

Nursing home abuse can often be hidden and difficult to detect. This is why it is important for residents and family members to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and to report any suspicious behavior or activity to the proper authorities. If a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced legal representation.

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