What to Do After a Death in a Nursing Home (Video)

Are you wondering what to do after the death of your loved one in a nursing home? This may be the article for you.

Although an autopsy is not legally required in a suspicious nursing home death, it may help surviving family members prove the cause of their loved one’s passing. To recover damages in a nursing home negligence case, the surviving family members must prove that their loved one’s death was caused by the deliberate abuse or negligence of the nursing home or its employees and not natural causes.

Why Is an Autopsy Important?

An autopsy may act as crucial evidence in proving the cause of death of a nursing home patient, especially if the surviving family members suspect abuse or negligence. The autopsy can overrule death by natural causes and offer detailed and helpful proof regarding the specific cause of the person’s passing. Other evidence that may be crucial in demonstrating that the death was a result of nursing home carelessness or abuse include:

  • The decedent’s medical records
  • Photos of decedent’s body if there are bruises, bedsores, or other proof of abuse
  • Statements and testimonials of the witnesses

Requesting an Autopsy After a Suspicious Nursing Home Death

Various studies have revealed that 33% of all deaths among elderly persons happen in nursing homes. The surviving family members should request an autopsy if their deceased loved one had any of the below conditions.

Bed Sores

More than 1 million Americans develop bedsores each year. About 50%of all those affected by bedsores are elderly persons aged 70 years and above. Elderly persons have a four times risk of death from bedsores than their younger counterparts.

Recent Infections or Falls

Numerous studies in the medical sector itself show that up to 50% of deaths caused by falls, homicide, restraints, and choking may be concealed. For this reason, requesting an autopsy can help the surviving family members determine the true cause of their loved one’s death.


According to the Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, about a third of all nursing home patients in the U.S. are likely to suffer from dehydration and/or malnutrition. This speeds up their death. A nursing home abuse lawyer can review a deceased resident’s medical records and determine whether the surviving family members have a reason to request an autopsy or take legal action.

Chris Burk
Chris Burk

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

Related blog articles