Every family that makes the difficult decision to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home does so in order for them to receive the care and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, understaffing of nursing homes, coupled with the inherent vulnerability of elderly residents leads to elder abuse and neglect. In many cases, this abuse or neglect appears as physical markings including burns, cuts, or bruises that remain unexplainable by nursing home staff and management.
If your elderly loved one suffered any of these kinds of injuries as a resident of a nursing home, consider how a Tulsa unexplained bruises or cuts or burns lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand the legal options you may take on behalf of your loved one.
It is important to note that federal law makes it clear that any type of nursing home abuse and neglect are always considered illegal. The Nursing Home Reform Act has specific requirements that nursing homes must follow to comply with certain standards regarding the care and supervision of all residents. Additionally, the Elder Justice Act of 2009 also provides legal guidance regarding the appropriate treatment of elderly residents in a nursing home.
Types of Physical Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
According to research published in the National Institutes of Health, the definition of physical elder abuse includes any physical harm inflicted upon an elderly resident of a nursing home. Examples of physical elder abuse and neglect can include slapping, burning, hitting, shoving, pushing, scratching, or physically restraining an elderly person in any way. Many of these examples of physical abuse results in serious injury to elderly residents, many of which are inherently frail due to their age.
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Vulnerabilities of the Elderly
Many elderly residents of nursing homes already suffer from medical conditions that may make them more susceptible to elder abuse or neglect. Along with medical conditions, many elderly residents are frail simply due to their advanced age. In other cases, many seniors develop neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This makes it difficult for them to remember if they even suffered any abuse, how they received their injuries, or who possibly inflicted these injuries upon them.
Finally, senior residents of nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse and neglect because of their dependency on the nursing home staff to provide them with their daily needs. This includes nutrition, hydration, assistance with repositioning, or assistance with simple daily tasks such as eating or going to the restroom. As a result of these combined vulnerabilities of the elderly, they are much more at risk of suffering from elder abuse or neglect.
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Signs of Physical Abuse or Neglect in Nursing Homes
There are many ways that physical abuse or neglect of elderly residents in nursing homes occur, yet many of the physical symptoms are the same. In many cases, nursing home residents will develop unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns as a result of their abuse or neglect. Always examine your loved one closely when you visit them in a nursing home to determine if they have any physical injuries at all including those listed above, as they could indicate elder abuse or neglect.
Bruises occur on the body when there is trauma to that area. Any form of bruising could indicate nursing home abuse or neglect in the elderly. Elderly residents typically have more fragile skin and less resilience regarding injuries. Therefore, they will bruise quickly if injured in any way. If a nursing home is consistently understaffed, or the staff receives improper training, they may have inappropriate skills to handle the needs of elderly residents. As a result, these nursing home staff members may become frustrated and lash out at the seniors under their care.
Some examples of how unexplained bruises occur may include the failure to reposition residents who are bedridden, the failure to help residents who need assistance going to the restroom, and failure to assist a resident from rising from a wheelchair. Bruises may also occur due to the nursing home’s failure to provide adequate nutrition or hydration, causing the resident to attempt to obtain these items on their own, and falling due to the nursing home staff failing to supervise residents.
In more egregious circumstances, nursing home staff members will overtly physically assault residence as a means of compliance, or out of frustration. When elderly residents develop any kind of bruising in a nursing home, elder neglect or abuse is often present. If you notice that your elderly loved one has any bruising on their skin that appears dark blue, purple, or yellow, immediately notify the nursing home management two times to determine the circumstances under which your loved one received their injury.
If you are unable to receive an adequate response regarding your loved one’s injuries, it may be that they are the direct result of abuse or neglect. If you ever find yourself in this situation, consider how a Tulsa unexplained bruises or cuts or burns lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you with your next steps.
Again, an elderly person’s skin is much more fragile than that of a younger adult. Therefore, their thinner skin suffers damage much more easily, resulting in serious injuries. Any time a nursing home facility leaves an elderly resident unsupervised or unattended, they may cut themselves with knives during meals, or in an attempt to rise from their bed or wheelchair to get necessary items or go to the restroom. It is important to note that any laceration or cut on an elderly resident’s skin can result in a serious infection if left untreated. Additionally, any cuts on your loved one’s skin should be a serious cause for concern especially if there are no explanations regarding the circumstances as an injury.
Most nursing homes should never allow access to matches, candles, or any other type of flammable device to its residents for safety reasons. Therefore, if you notice any kind of a burn on your loved one’s skin, you should seriously consider whether it resulted from some type of nursing home abuse or neglect.
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Consider How a Tulsa Unexplained Bruises or Cuts or Burns Lawyer Can Help
While it is true that elderly residents of nursing homes are more susceptible to injuries simply due to their fragility, the entire purpose of placing them in a nursing home is to ensure their safety and care. If your elderly loved one suffered from an unexplained bruise, cut, or burn, they possibly suffered from victimization in some way within their nursing home facility. Consider how visiting with a Tulsa unexplained bruises or cuts or burns lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you ensure your loved one receives justice.