Elder abuse — the abuse of senior citizens- can happen in nursing homes, in the home of the senior’s children or with a trusted personal caretaker. It is important for anyone with an elderly loved one to know the signs of abuse.
A new study
was released this year by the National Institute of Justice regarding
bruises. The elderly are more prone to falls as they age because their
bodies are more fragile and their balance may be off. Often these accidental falls are blamed for minor injuries, but it's important to know how to tell if abuse or neglect may be the cause.
The main point of the study is to differentiate between accidental bruises and bruises from abuse. Accidental bruises are typically found on the legs and arms and usually
no one can remember how they got there.
A sign of
abuse is if a person has a story for the bruise. Even if the story is a
lie, an intentional bruise will always have a reason
for it being there. Another good indicator of abuse is if the bruise is larger than two inches.
law, nursing home and assisted living staff are required to report to DSS (Department of Social Services) if they suspect any abuse. This can be self abuse, facility neglect, and even abuse by their children or
spouse. One nurse describes such patients as withdrawn and uninvolved with activities.
If someone suspects elder abuse, they should first call
DSS who will send out staff to investigate, if abuse is suspected DSS will call the police.
One police chief familiar with elder abuse said, “Something as simple as a bruise might be a sign of
abuse, but it could also have happened while someone was being moved
from a hospital bed. Signs include bruises, lacerations,
broken bones, dehydration, malnourishment — all may indicate abuse
especially if they’re being taken care of in a private home.”
For more, read the story.
At our law office we take falls seriously as well. Please watch our brief video on falls if you are concerned about a loved one who may have acquired bruises while in the care of someone else.
Robert W. Carter,
Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to
protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted
living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg,
Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Tue, October 20, 2009
by Kristie Pierce