If your elderly loved one lives in a nursing home, they have the right to expect safe conditions and appropriate monitoring. In many cases, elderly residents slip and fall due to elder abuse or neglect, which can result in serious bruises. While some effects of bruises remain minor, some result in serious medical conditions and complications. If your elderly loved one lives as a resident of a nursing home, make sure to always closely inspect and monitor their skin and overall health to ensure that they receive proper treatment and care. If you notice any severe bruising or a pattern of bruising over time, you may be witnessing signs of elder abuse or neglect.
Causes of Bruises
There are many causes of bruises in any person; however, elderly adults have certain circumstances and conditions that may make them more vulnerable to easy bruising.
As people age, their skin becomes more and more fragile, and thus more prone to injuries. In many cases, an elderly person may simply not remember how they received their bruise. A nursing home should take extra care to moisturize residents’ skin as well as always monitor them so that they do not slip and fall, which may cause not only bruising but broken bones and internal organ damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nutrition and Hydration
Nursing homes must provide appropriate nutrition and hydration to all of their elderly residents. Vitamin C and iron play an important role for any person, especially elderly people who may have challenges with their blood vessel walls. Any diet provided in a nursing home should include proper nutrition so that an elderly person can have a healthy immune system, bruise less easily, and have more resilience regarding their overall health.
Some medications (such as blood thinners) cause bruising or cause a resident to bruise much more easily.
Elder Abuse and Neglect
In some cases, a nursing home fails to monitor its residents, leading to seniors attempting to get out of bed or wheelchair by themselves. Often, residents will then fall and suffer serious medical issues or bruising. In other cases, seniors of nursing homes may suffer direct elder abuse. Reports indicate that some nursing homes attempt to forcibly restrain residents who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and often become confused and wander. In other cases, nursing home employees may physically abuse elderly residents if they remain non-compliant or if the nursing home employee becomes frustrated, overworked, or unable to control their feelings of anger regarding a nursing home resident.
Effects of Bruises
While many bruises will heal on their own, some large bruises indicate serious medical issues. In fact, if you notice that your elderly loved one has a large or serious bruise, you should have them seek immediate medical attention to determine if any internal bleeding or damage occurred. In fact, some effects of bruises require emergency care in a hospital. Bruises around the torso of an elderly person create concern for internal damage. In other cases, a bruise could signal a fractured or broken bone underneath the bruise. Always seek the advice of a medical professional in these cases.
If bruises in your elderly loved one appear tender and persistent, they may indicate a medical condition or elder abuse and neglect in the nursing home. Any persistent bruising or a bruise that does not begin to heal within a week should receive an examination by a medical professional even in the absence of suspicion of internal damage.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect that elder abuse in a residential long-term care setting led to the bruising of your elderly loved one, you should immediately contact the management of the nursing home. Additionally, you should consider contacting Adult Protective Services, as well as the police, dependent on the circumstances. Bruising located anywhere on the torso or in areas that would not have occurred due to a fall should receive close scrutiny by a medical professional to determine if elder abuse occurred. If your elderly loved one continues to receive bruises with no explanation, they may suffer from elder neglect. The nursing home staff may provide inadequate monitoring for their residents, leading to falls and injuries.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
Elderly residents of nursing homes often develop bruises simply from accidental causes due to their thinner skin or medications. However, if you suspect that the bruises and injuries suffered by your elderly loved one resulted from elder abuse or neglect while they lived as a resident of a nursing home, you have the right to seek justice on their behalf. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you begin your free case evaluation. To potentially receive compensation for your elderly loved one’s injuries and hold those responsible accountable for their actions, call us as soon as possible.