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Bruising in Nursing Homes

Many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are difficult to see.  While many signs of abuse can be hard to identify, one sign of possible abuse or neglect that is easy to spot is bruising. Bruising is a fairly common occurrence in the elderly, but sometimes that are not just part of the normal aging process and can point to abuse or mistreatment.

There are many things that can cause bruises. Some examples include an injury, a fall or bumping into something. A bruise can occur hours or sometimes even days following an injury. They can appear on all parts of the body. Typically, bruises are reddish when they first appear, then they turn to a purple color and as they heal they are yellow, green or brown. It is common for a bruise to be painful for the first couple of days because the person has suffered some skin trauma. In most cases, bruises heal within two weeks. As people age, it is common for them to be more susceptible to bruises because of fragile capillaries and thinner skin. Also, as people get older it is more common for bruises to last longer than a couple weeks and they may even last for months.

Because bruises are easily visible they are a common indicator of nursing home abuse, neglect or mistreatment. The elderly and nursing home residents are more vulnerable to injury and mistreatment because of weakness, illness and decreased mental cognition. Sadly, many times the nursing home residents are suffering the abuse are unable to inform their family members  or staff members about the abuse because of fear or embarrassment. Because of this, it is imperative that nursing home staff are trained to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect.

While it can be difficult to tell whether bruising is normal, accidental or from abuse or neglect,  it is important that staff are able to recognize the signs that the bruising is not normal. Some signs include the pattern or shape of bruising which can indicate use of restraints or possible knuckles or fingers being used on the person.  The location of a bruise can also be a sign as to whether the bruises are from abuse. The most common location of bruises that are from abuse are on the face, neck, chest wall, abdomen, and the buttocks. Falls can also cause bruising and can be a sign of improper supervision of a resident.

If you suspect your loved one may be suffering abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing home, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney to determine what can be done.


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