My elderly aunt is in a nursing home in Louisville. Recently I’ve noticed places on her legs where her skin is ripped. I asked her about them, and she told me that she keeps bumping her legs against the furniture en route to the bathroom. I don’t know whether she’s telling the truth or trying to protect someone. How plausible does her explanation sound to you?

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Actually, it sounds very plausible. Wounds International provides an explanation of elderly skin’s susceptibility to tearing. As skin ages, the following changes occur:

  • The epidermis thins out and flattens.
  • Skin loses collagen and elastin.
  • The dermis undergoes atrophy and contraction, resulting in wrinkles and folds.
  • Sebaceous gland and sweat gland activity decreases, causing skin to be dry.
  • Arteriosclerotic changes in the blood vessels cause vessel walls to thin and reduces blood supply to the extremities.

The sum of these pathological changes is skin that is more fragile, furrowed, and wrinkled and is more likely to tear.

That said, caregivers at the nursing home can take precautions to minimize the incidences of skin tears, such as by

  • padding wheelchairs and bedrails;
  • keeping their own and your aunt’s fingernails trimmed;
  • not wearing jewelry around your aunt;
  • using care when moving her from one location to another, such as from the bed to a chair; and
  • keeping her skin well-moisturized.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.