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Personal Injury · Wrongful Death · Medical Malpractice

How to Know When to Sue a Nursing Home for Bruises or Sores

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As the body ages, people become more susceptible to bruising, cuts and other wounds that take much longer to heal and present a greater risk of serious infection. These changes are due to a thinning of the skin and a weakening of the immune system as the body starts to wear down over time. These realities can make it more difficult to determine if nursing home abuse is occurring. However, any type of injury should raise questions about the care provided, and require caregivers to account for the events that led to the harm. This need for vigilance is supported by studies conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse that found 45 percent of all nursing home residents reported abuse and 95 percent reported experiencing neglect or observing neglect of other residents. If there is evidence the nursing home provided inadequate supervision or that a staff member intentionally caused the injury, the nursing home could be liable and responsible for compensating the victim.

Each type of injury presents its own host of concerns, and the location and severity could indicate if the reason it occurred is benign or nefarious. The most effective way to limit and stifle negligent behavior is to frequently and diligently check in on family members in these facilities. Many residents are unable to report abuse due to physical and neurological conditions that hinder their ability to communicate. To help family members effectively advocate for proper care by nursing homes, a discussion of two injuries commonly seen in nursing residents and their possible causes will follow below.

Bruises

While bruising is more common among the elderly, a common source of these injuries is poor diet or malnutrition. Since the nursing home is responsible for providing the appropriate amount and type of food for each resident, a marked increase in the number of bruises on a resident’s body could be a sign that neglect relating to improper nutrition is an issue. Lots of bruising around the wrist could be sign that restraints were used or a staff member pulled or dragged a resident. Further, bruises on hips and arms could be the result of falls that happened because staff was not paying the necessary amount of attention to the resident’s safety.

Bedsores

Bedsores are always a red flag that something could be amiss because they only form as a result of the body being one position for too long. If an individual is unable to move or understand the need to reposition his/her body regularly, the staff has the responsibility to properly monitor and take steps to prevent these wounds. This responsibility arises out of their legal duty to provide competent medical care as the caregiver for all nursing home residents. Thus, if bedsores do appear, a resident could have a legal claim. However, if the bedsore is minor and heals quickly, that may not be enough to establish negligence. In addition, if a resident refuses medical treatment that leads to bedsores, the legal claim may be lost, assuming the person’s competency is not in question.

Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Entrusting the care of a loved to a nursing home is a big decision, and if you suspect abuse is happening, talk to an lawyer about holding the nursing home responsible. Your loved one deserves consideration and proper care, and the Miami law firm of Pita Weber Del Prado will fight to hold the nursing home accountable if the facility fails to do so. Contact us for a free consultation.

Resources:

ncea.acl.gov/resources/docs/Abuse-LongTermCare-Facilities-2012.pdf

cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db14.pdf

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