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New Study Finds Bruising on Elders May Be Sign of Abuse

As we age, our bodies become more fragile and our natural sense of balance diminishes. And that means we become more prone to bruising as we bump into things. But in some case, especially for the most frail and elderly people, bruises can indicate abuse on the part of caregivers, nursing home staff or family members. Sadly, many of these cases go unreported to loved ones or authorities either because the victims have difficulty in communicating or because they fear retaliation from the abusers.

A new study by the National Institute of Justice examines bruising on elders as a possible sign of abuse or neglect. The study looked at the types of bruising on elderly patients that occurs from accidental falls and other normal causes. The study found that bruising from these causes usually occurs only patients’ arms and legs, not on their face, neck, torso or back. The study also found that in the case of accidental bruising, most patients cannot remember how the bruising occurred. But if a patient has a story readily available describing how the bruising occurred, the study showed that the story is often a lie to cover up abuse or neglect.

The study also looked at whether the size of bruises can be used to identify cases of abuse and found that bruises larger than two-inches across are often a good indicator of abuse.

Bruises on an elderly patient are just one factor to consider when determining potential abuse. Other signs of abuse include lacerations, broken bones, malnourishment and dehydration. Unclean or improper clothing hazardous conditions and bed sores are other common signs of neglect or abuse. Elderly patients may also fall victim to financial abuse, which leaves no signs of physical neglect or injury.

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, you should contact your local Department of Social Services. They will investigate the complaint and, if necessary, involve the police. Many police departments have established units to examine incidents of elder abuse.

Our attorneys have successfully defended the rights of thousands of elder care abuse victims and their families. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of elder care abuse, please contact us at for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to assist in all aspects of your litigation.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after a nursing home to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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