“Phantom bruises” are bruises that seem to appear mysteriously, with neither the bruised resident nor any staff member aware of how the bruises developed. In my experience as a nursing home abuse lawyer, I’ve found that these happen far less often than nursing homes would have families believe.
Five residents at the Tri-State Nursing and Rehab Center were found with these phantom bruises on their bodies. One bruise was found on a resident’s leg, another was found on a resident’s chest, another on the hand, and still another a resident’s face.
Nursing homes are required to report all incidents of potential abuse to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in a prompt manner. According to the report filed by the IDPH, the facility did not investigate and report these abuse allegations for four out of the five residents.
Resident on resident violence is a growing concern in nursing homes across Illinois. Because of reductions in services to the mentally ill, many physically healthy mentally ill patients who should rightfully be in mental hospitals are, instead, being housed with our loved ones in nursing homes.
In order to qualify as a nursing home, facilities only need 50% of their residents to be over the age of 65. As a result, many nursing homes have residents who are young, physically healthy, and mentally ill.
The first obligation of any nursing home is to protect the residents who live there. That includes protection from themselves, from the staff, and especially from other residents.
Because of the lack of investigation, there’s no way of knowing how the residents were injured. As a nursing home lawyer, I know that in most cases, there’s someone who knows how an injury occurred. Conducting a proper investigation and determining that cause is always the first job of a nursing home attorney.