Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns on an elderly person in a long-term care facility should always raise red flags and warrant prompt investigation. In the first instance, these types of injuries should be reported to nursing home staff.
Sometimes, it is possible to explain cuts and bruises and they may be harmless. However, if you find any injuries on your loved one, it is important to speak to their caregivers and medical staff to find out what exactly is the cause of these injuries. If the injuries remain unexplained, your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse.
What to Do About Your Suspicions of the Bruises, Cuts, or Burns on Your Loved One
If you are suspecting abuse, other than questioning nursing home staff, you can also ask your loved one directly about the injuries. However, elderly nursing home residents may be cognitively impaired, suffer from dementia, or are simply not willing to talk about any injuries due to fear or embarrassment. In this case it is important to take action and investigate the unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns further.
You may wish to document any injuries in a notebook or journal, together with dates and pictures of the unexplained bruises or cuts or burns. Documenting the injuries can provide evidence if you discover abuse or neglect in the nursing home and later decide to take action against the facility.
It is also a good idea to make unannounced visits and observe interactions between your loved one and their caregivers. Do you notice anything untoward, for example, does your loved one appear to be afraid of a caregiver? You may also wish to speak with your loved one’s medical provider and physician about any bruises, cuts, or burns, as they can offer a professional opinion.
It can be worrying when your questions remain unanswered and nursing home staff or administration cannot provide any explanations for your loved one’s injuries. If your relative’s bruises, cuts, or burns, are not the result of any underlying medical issues or side effects from medication, they may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, speak to a nursing home lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now and let us offer you guidance during this difficult time.
Signs of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Apart from the obvious signs of nursing home abuse, such as unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns, there are other signs that can point to physical abuse:
- Staff is neglecting the personal hygiene needs of a resident.
- The nursing home resident is withdrawing from daily life or feeling depressed.
- The elderly person seems frightened of caregivers.
- Other unexplained injuries such as bedsores and broken bones are present.
- The nursing home resident is showing signs of malnutrition and/or dehydration.
While not an exhaustive list, any of these changes in your loved one can be signs for concern, especially if you recently noticed new unexplained cuts, bruises, or burns.
For a free legal consultation with a Unexplained Bruises or Cuts or Burns Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Injuries from Burns in Nursing Homes
While bruises and cuts may appear easily on older persons due to thinner skin, frequent falls, or bumping into furniture due to frailty, burns are always a reason for great concern.
Burns in nursing homes can happen by hot water scalding a nursing home resident taking a bath, or by coming into close contact with heaters and radiators. A nursing home resident may suffer burns when drinking or eating hot liquids and foods. Moreover, if a resident can smoke unsupervised in a nursing home, they may be burning themselves with cigarettes or hot ash. Burns can be extremely painful and unlike bruises that usually go away on their own, burns potentially cause serious secondary problems such as skin infections.
It is possible to avoid burns if residents are supervised appropriately and staff are observing all regulations. Watchful and caring nursing home staff can and should prevent scalding and burning from hot water or hot food.
If the nursing home fails to provide a safe and neglect-free environment, and residents suffer from burns or other injuries as a result, the nursing home might be liable.
Riverside Unexplained Bruises or Cuts or Burns Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Unexplained and recurring injuries are always a cause of alarm. Bruises and cuts, as well as burns, can be the result of physical abuse such as rough handling by caregivers. While older persons can bruise more easily, and may get cuts and burns in the nursing home that are not a sign of abuse, these injuries can be signs of neglect. A long-term care facility has the responsibility to try and prevent any accidents that can lead to these types of injuries.
The law offers nursing home residents protection from physical abuse and neglect, including preventable accidents. The Illinois Health Facilities and Regulation Nursing Home Care Act specifically defines neglect to include withholding of any assistance necessary to avoid physical harm to a resident.
When you identify abuse or neglect in your loved one’s nursing home, your next best steps are to inform the nursing home administration. You may also wish to file a complaint with the appropriate state agency such as the Illinois Department of Public Health.
It can be beneficial to speak to a nursing home lawyer who may be able to help you and your loved one recover from nursing home abuse. You and your loved one could receive compensation for your financial losses such as medical bills. You could also get awards for any mental and physical anguish suffered as a result of nursing home neglect and abuse.
We can advise you on your legal options and help build a case, should you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. You do not need to worry about any upfront costs or attorney’s fees as we work on a contingency-fee basis. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for your free case review.