We typically think of concussions in the context of athletic injuries or car accidents, but concussions happen quite often in the elderly, as well. Nursing home residents, in particular, are at high risk for experiencing concussions and other head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of people over age 65 experience a fall once a year on average–and falls are the leading cause of brain injuries like concussions.
Unfortunately, concussions that occur in nursing homes often go undetected or unreported–in part because some of the symptoms of concussion can be masked by or passed off as the onset of dementia. If you suspect your elderly loved one has suffered a concussion due to nursing home neglect or abuse in Illinois, you need to speak to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney right away. The attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Firm can help you hold the negligent nursing home accountable and make sure your loved one’s rights are protected. Contact us today at 630-898-7800.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury that happens when the head is hit or jolted hard enough to cause the brain to bounce around inside the skull. Concussions can range from mild to severe, and they can happen even if there is no loss of consciousness. Symptoms may not show up right away–they often occur hours or even days after the initial injury.
Common symptoms of concussion include:
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Mood changes
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
Common Causes of Nursing Home Concussions
Concussions can happen for many reasons, but in nursing homes, there are really two common causes:
Falls. The lion’s share of nursing home concussions happen when a patient experiences a fall and hits their head on the floor, a chair arm, or some other surface. Elderly nursing home residents are often frail and have difficulty walking. Many times, these falls happen because the nursing home staff has not provided the resident with the proper assistance they need to get around safely–or simply because they provided inadequate supervision. This means that when a nursing home resident suffers a concussion, it is quite often a sign of nursing home neglect.
Physical abuse. Unfortunately, some nursing home residents suffer concussions as a result of direct nursing home abuse by nursing home staffers. This can happen when a staffer hits or shakes a resident, whether intentionally or out of frustration. Even if the attacker doesn’t strike a direct blow to the head, the act of jostling the patient’s head may be enough to cause concussion-like injuries inside the skull.
Signs that Your Elderly Loved One May Have Experienced a Concussion
If a concussion occurs due to neglect or abuse, the nursing home staff may attempt to cover it up by not reporting it or not having the patient checked–especially if there are no visible signs of injury. However, there may be some indicators that your loved one has suffered a concussion without your knowledge. Watch for any unusual or sudden changes in behavior or cognition, such as:
- Sudden irritability or moodiness
- Agitation or aggression
- Anxiety or depression
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Sleep problems (insomnia, sleeping more than usual)
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating or processing information
If you see any of these sudden changes in your loved one, don’t assume it’s due to old age or the onset of dementia–it may be due to a brain injury caused by an unknown trauma. Take the following steps right away:
Have a doctor examine your loved one. If the changes are due to a concussion, prompt medical attention is essential. A concussion can have serious long-term effects if it is not diagnosed and treated.
Talk to a nursing home attorney right away. You may need legal help to protect your loved one’s rights and make sure the negligent nursing home is held accountable for any acts of abuse or neglect.
Nursing Home Concussion Attorney in Aurora, Illinois
The attorneys at Cullotta Bravo Law Firm have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including those involving concussions and other brain injuries. We can fight for justice on behalf of your loved one. Call us today at 630-898-7800 or contact us online.