DATELINE UPPER WEST SIDE, NYC — "We think the bruising she suffered last week was caused by a staff member," Nate told his wife. "You're joking, right? This is a nursing facility. They're like, regulated and all that. Safer than being at her apartment across from the Park, they said, right?' How will you know whether your loved one’s injury was caused by negligent nursing home care?

"That's what they said," Nate said without irony. "Are you saying that you think it wasn't a fall or something, but some kind of physical abuse?"

"It wouldn't be the first time. 'Elder abuse' – you know. There's a reason the expression exists."

"True enough." His wife could think of no reason to disagree.

"I want to find out, but I'm having trouble getting to the bottom of this. I called the nursing home, but they're not willing to give me her records."

"Would that help?"

"Sure it would. Remember when she told us that she didn't trust that woman last week? This all happened on a weekend, and I'd like to know who was on duty. And to take a look at what had been logged in her medical records."

"Like I said, I want to get to the bottom of this," Nate promised.

His wife nodded and resumed the sad duty of folding her mother-in-law's shirts.

"We should do this even if the result is just to keep other residents in that place from going through this."

ANALYSIS: BRUISES AND OTHER INJURIES DUE TO FALLS AND NEGLECT

Was there a fall? Where and when did this happen? Often the first indication comes from an unexplained fracture, hematoma or other injury. An unexpected visit to the emergency room is also cause to suspect negligent nursing home care. Ask questions. What caused the injury?

What happened to Nate’s Mom in a nursing home is not uncommon. Nursing home abuse often manifests itself in unexplained injuries that can ultimately be traced to falls or other negligent nursing home care. The causes of these falls require investigation, a study of medical records, and plenty of question-asking. A nursing home should be a safe place for patients, but sadly patients suffer falls and injuries due to negligent nursing home care.

The bruising suffered by Nate’s Mom may have been because she needed to go to the bathroom and nobody answered her call for help. Or she may have been so medicated she could not walk properly. Or, she may have fallen out of bed or a wheelchair because the nursing home was not monitoring her properly due to inadequate and short staffing.

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