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Subdural Hematoma in Elderly Nursing Home Residents


Subdural hematoma is a type of brain bleed that can occur following head trauma. This potentially life-threatening condition can result in significant damage to the brain and requires prompt medical attention.

While subdural hematomas can occur at any age, they are prevalent among elderly men and women, who may be more susceptible due to age-related changes in the brain and an increased risk of falls.

Did your loved one develop a chronic or subacute subdural hematoma due to someone’s negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC represent disabled and elderly patients experiencing injuries caused by nursing home neglect and abuse.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Understanding Subdural Hematoma

Subdural hematoma is a head injury when blood collects between the brain tissue layers. A subdural hematoma develops when bridging veins tear, leading to brain bleed.

This brain injury is most commonly seen in elderly residents with an identifiable midline shift, cortical contusion, or diffuse axonal injury. Data shows that a severe brain injury is most likely to occur in a nursing home fall where there is blunt force impact to the head.

A nursing home resident with age-related changes in balance and coordination could experience fall-related injuries.

How Does a Subdural Hematoma Occur?

A subdural hematoma can occur in two main ways: acute or chronic. An acute subdural hematoma is a medical emergency typically resulting from a severe head injury, such as a nursing home fall or car accident.

In contrast, chronic subdural hematomas tend to develop more slowly. They are often seen in elderly patients with a history of head or brain injury, previous subdural hematomas, or taking blood thinners.

Chronic Subdural Hematomas

Chronic subdural hematoma is a type of subdural hematoma that tends to develop slowly over time. This chronic condition can occur when blood vessels between the brain and the protective outer layers of the brain are damaged, causing blood to leak and pool over time.

Collected blood can pressure the brain and cause headaches, confusion, and difficulty speaking or moving, leading to a subdural hematoma.

Risk Factors for Chronic Subdural Hematoma

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing a chronic subdural hematoma. These include a history of head/skull injuries, taking blood thinners, and advanced age.

Additionally, nursing home individuals who have a history of alcohol abuse, seizures, or other medical conditions that affect blood clotting may also be at increased risk.

For elderly residents, chronic hematomas can be especially dangerous. The subdural hematoma condition can be mistaken for other conditions, such as dementia or stroke, and may not be recognized until the symptoms have become severe.

That’s why older adults and their nursing home caregivers must be aware of the risk factors and symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they are suspected.

Acute Subdural Hematoma

An acute subdural hematoma is a serious medical condition resulting from a severe brain injury. Unlike a chronic hematoma, which develops slowly over time, an acute hematoma can proliferate and require immediate medical attention.

An acute subdural hematoma occurs when a blood vessel is ruptured during a severe brain injury, causing blood to pool between the brain and the brain’s protective outer layers.

The bleeding can rapidly lead to increased pressure on the brain and cause symptoms such as severe headaches, confusion, loss of consciousness, and difficulty speaking or moving.

How Does an Acute Differ from Chronic?

One key difference between acute and chronic conditions is the speed of onset. Acute subdural hematomas develop rapidly and require immediate medical attention, while chronic hematomas can take weeks or even months to develop and may be less severe.

Chronic hematomas may be treated conservatively. Acute hematomas often require surgical intervention to remove the blood and relieve the pressure on the brain.

It’s essential to recognize the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they are suspected. Early detection and treatment of nursing home head injuries can help minimize the risk of long-term complications and improve the patient’s outcome.

Nursing Home Injuries and Brain Bleeds

Hematomas are often caused by head injuries that result in bleeding between the brain and its protective outer layers. Several factors can increase the risk of a subdural hematoma, including nursing home falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and physical assault.

In addition, elderly residents are at increased risk of hematomas due to age-related changes in the brain and a higher likelihood of falls or head/brain injuries. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can also increase the risk of subdural hematomas by making it easier for blood vessels to rupture.

The Importance of Seeking Prompt Medical Attention for Nursing Home Injuries Involving Head Trauma

Regardless of the cause, it’s essential to seek prompt medical attention for any brain injury, no matter how minor it may seem. Even a seemingly mild injury can lead to a subdural hematoma, and delayed treatment can result in serious long-term consequences, such as brain damage or death.

It’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a subdural hematoma, including headaches, confusion, weakness on one side of the body, seizures, and loss of consciousness. If any symptoms are present after brain injury, seek medical attention immediately.

The risk of subdural hematomas and other serious complications can be minimized by proactively preventing head/brain injuries and seeking prompt medical attention when they occur.

Treatment Options for Subdural Hematomas

The treatment for subdural hematomas depends on the severity of the injury and how quickly the condition is diagnosed. While some hematomas may resolve independently, others may require more aggressive treatment.

Conservative Management

In elderly men and women, conservative management is often the first line of treatment, including medications to manage pain and inflammation and carefully monitor the patient’s condition. Sometimes, a small hole may be drilled in the skull to drain the blood and relieve pressure on the brain.

Surgical Options for Subdural Hematoma Injury

Acute and subacute subdural hematomas often require surgical intervention to remove the blood and relieve pressure on the brain.

This may involve a craniotomy, a procedure in which a portion of the skull is removed to access the brain bleeds, or a craniectomy, in which a more significant portion of the skull is removed temporarily to allow for brain swelling.

In some cases, subdural hematoma injury may require emergency brain surgery to prevent further damage to the brain tissue. In all cases, treatment aims to prevent long-term damage to the brain and improve the patient’s overall outcome.

Preventing Subdural Hematomas

While subdural hematomas can be challenging to prevent, several strategies can help reduce the risk of injury, particularly in elderly patients and nursing home residents who may be at higher risk.

Fall prevention strategies are critical to subdural hematoma prevention, as nursing home falls cause head/skull injuries in elderly men and women.

It may include ensuring that floors and walkways are free of clutter and tripping hazards, using non-slip mats in the bathroom, and installing grab bars and handrails to provide additional support.

Additionally, regular exercise and physical therapy can help improve balance and reduce the risk of nursing home falls.

Reducing the Risk of a Subdural Hematoma in Nursing Home Residents

In nursing home settings, it’s essential to implement measures to reduce the risk of subdural hematomas among residents. This may include conducting fall risk assessments, providing appropriate mobility aids and assistive devices, and training nursing home staff to recognize and respond to signs of a subdural hematoma or other head/skull injuries.

Regular monitoring and assessment of residents can help identify potential risk factors early on and prevent further injury.

Implementing these preventative strategies may reduce the risk of subdural hematoma in the elderly and nursing home residents, improving their overall quality of life and reducing the burden of this potentially devastating condition.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Nursing Home Abuse Case

Are you or a loved one the victim of nursing home resident abuse resulting in a subdural hematoma or another serious injury? It’s vital to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Nursing Home Law Center, LLC team can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for your rights.

With a contingency fee and a free consultation, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Don’t hesitate to contact our nursing home abuse law firm at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to learn more about how we can help you seek justice and compensation for your injuries.


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