Unexplained Bruising in Elderly Nursing Home Patients

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The elderly are especially susceptible to bruising. Nursing home patients and their families need to know how to evaluate bruising for potential abuse. When is bruising in the elderly normal, and when is it cause for concern?

Lawyer Robert “Bobby” Jones of Bobby Jones Law explains unexplained bruising in elderly nursing home patients, and invites you to contact a Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss a case.

Bruising in Nursing Home Patients

Where does bruising occur the most in nursing home patients?:

  • Hands and knuckles
  • Forearms
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Seat
  • Thighs
  • Genitals
  • Ears

Anywhere on the body that bone is near skin is a place where bruising is most likely to occur. Nursing home patients who are sedentary for long periods may be likely to develop bruising on pressure points like the feet, back and seat.

Signs that bruising in a nursing home patient may be the result of abuse include:

  • Behavioral changes that accompany physical injury
  • Lack of known causes for bruising like a medical condition
  • Bedsores
  • Severe bruising
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Other injuries including broken bones
  • Chronic or recurring bruising
  • Lack of medical care
  • Bruises that appear to have resulted from blunt trauma or force

Victims are often afraid to speak. They may not fully understand what is happening around them, and they may fear retaliation. Family members and caregivers should be aware that bruising may need medical attention and that it may be a sign of abuse and neglect.

Identifying unexplained bruising on nursing home patients

A bruise is skin discoloration caused by blood under the surface of the skin. The medical term for a bruise is ecchymosis. A bruise may also be called a contusion.

Damaged blood vessels or organs may cause loss of blood. When blood loss reaches the outside of the body, you can see the blood. However, a person may bleed internally, within the body. When bleeding occurs below the surface of the skin, it may discolor the skin. This discoloration is a bruise.

Bruising may look red, purple, blue, brown or yellow. There are different categories of bruising, depending on severity:

  • Petechiae – A few, small blood vessels bursting
  • Purpura – Several small blood vessels bursting, up to one inch in size
  • Ecchymosis – Pooling of blood under the surface of the skin
  • Hematomas – A larger pool of blood, which may be serious

Severe bruising can be life threatening.

When Should You Worry About a Bruise on an Elderly Person?

You should be concerned about a bruise when it is severe, when there is no known cause or when it appears to be the result of trauma. A bruise may be a sign of a medical condition or a sign of abuse and neglect. It may be an indicator that the person’s living situation needs reassessment.

Each nursing home resident has a unique medical history and living situation. Therefore, evaluating bruising, underlying causes and potential abuse and neglect is an individualized evaluation.

Medical conditions that may cause bruising

There are medical conditions that can make bruising more likely to occur. These include:

  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Thrombophilia
  • Immune thrombocytopenia
  • Hemophilia A, hemophilia B
  • Clotting disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)

In addition, certain medicines can make a person more likely to bruise:

  • Blood thinners
  • Ibuprofen, NSAIDs
  • Aspirin
  • Steroids
  • Cancer drugs

Certain genetic factors may also contribute to bruising.

What To Do About Bruising in Elderly Nursing Home Patients

When a nursing home patient has bruising, it may be cause for concern. Investigating the cause should include looking at the person’s living situation and medical factors. Family members and caregivers should be aware that abuse and neglect may be a cause or contributing factor to bruising in nursing home patients. Evaluating the entire situation can help the patient heal from their bruising and protect their overall wellbeing.

Attorney for Nursing Home Abuse Resulting in Bruises

If you are concerned about the care you or a family member is receiving in a care facility, we invite you to contact Bobby Jones Law. Attorney Bobby Jones can assist you when abuse and neglect occurs in a nursing home. Contact us today to talk about your case.

Sources: Healthline, What Can Cause You to Bruise Easily?; Cleveland Clinic, Bruises; MedlinePlus, Bleeding; Hartford Healthcare, Bruising and Blood Spots Under the Skin

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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