Some of the reasons an elderly resident of a nursing home would suffer bruises without injury would include:
- Intense exercise
- Nutrient deficiency
- Von Willebrand disease
- Immune thrombocytopenia
- Hemophilia A
- Hemophilia B
- Cushing syndrome
- Some other medical conditions
Bruising occurs in every person when damaged blood vessels deep beneath the skin collect near the surface of the skin. Typically, bruising occurs after some form of trauma to the body, and the result is a discoloration of the area into purple, blue, and eventually yellow. Unexplained bruising is rare, and typically involves some sort of medical condition or nutrient deficiency. In cases of nursing home residents, many seniors may simply bump into something and not remember because the bump was minor, or a cognitive dysfunction does not allow them to actually remember the bump or trauma. In most cases, bruises in elderly people are common due to their thinner skin and fragile blood vessels.
Unexplained Bruising in Nursing Homes
Many elderly residents of nursing homes develop medical conditions or have underlying medical conditions that may cause random bruising. Some of those medical conditions may include Von Willebrand disease, Thrombophilia, Immune thrombocytopenia, Hemophilia A, Hemophilia B, or other medical conditions. Additionally, there are some forms of medication that may make a nursing home resident more prone to bruising, such as those medications that thin the blood. If a nursing home resident begins to develop bruises without explanation, a nursing home must immediately consult with a physician and develop a strategy to test the senior to determine the cause of the bruising.
Nutrient Deficiency and Nursing Homes
In some cases, nursing home residents may develop bruises due to nutrient deficiencies. Nutrition is vital and critical for nursing home residents to create a strong immune system and strength in their advanced age. Vitamins perform many significant functions throughout the body and for the blood. Certain vitamins will help form red blood cells, lower cholesterol, and help maintain mineral levels. Vitamin C supports immune systems and helps wounds heal, and without enough Vitamin C, bruises can develop without injury. Additionally, without enough iron in the body, bruises are also common due to the lack of this mineral that keeps blood cells healthy. Finally, Vitamin K deficiencies actually reduce the rate at which blood clots, which can assist in the formation of a bruise.
Without healthy blood cells, an elderly resident of a nursing home is unable to get the oxygen into their blood and body they need to properly function. Nursing homes should always provide proper nutrition to each resident according to the personal care plan established by their nutritionist and physician. Additionally, nursing home facilities have a responsibility not only to provide nutritious meals and snacks to residents, but also to ensure that they consume the food so that they actually benefit from the nutrients.
For those residents that have difficulty swallowing, the nursing home should ensure that they receive their nutrients in a form that they can consume easily. If a nursing home does not follow this care plan, or does not help an elderly resident consume the nutritious food provided for them, then an elderly resident of a nursing home can hold the facility responsible for their negligence.
Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
Every nursing home should remain alert to identify which of their residents develops bruises without injury. If a nursing home notices a senior developing bruises without injury, they should also look for the following:
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen or sore tongue
- Tingling feeling in legs
- Cold hands or feet
- Craving strange non-food items
- Bleeding in mouth or gums
- Blood in the stool
- Heavy periods
- Excessive bleeding from wounds
If a nursing home fails to identify or report any of these signs of nutrient deficiency and bruising, they may be held liable for negligence.
Nursing Home Abuse
In some severe cases, nursing home staff members will physically abuse elderly residents of a nursing home. In many cases, these senior residents will suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and simply not remember how they developed their bruises. If your elderly loved one suffers from frequent bruising with no recollection of injury, and all medical testing proves that they have no underlying medical condition to cause the bruising, they may be suffering from abuse at the hands of the nursing home staff.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today for Legal Support
If your elderly loved one suffered from bruises due to nutrient deficiency, unreported medical conditions, or nursing home abuse, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you and your elderly loved one develop a strong case that holds the nursing home accountable for their actions.