Elder abuse brain injury

Diagnosing mild traumatic brain injuries in elderly patients


Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a significant problem in older adults.

Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI): brain injury caused by the bruising, tearing or swelling of the brain.Coluccio-Law-elder-abuse-brain-injury

In persons aged 65 years and older, TBI is responsible for more than 80,000 emergency department visits each year. Three-quarters of these visits result in hospitalization.

Falls are the leading cause of TBI for the older adults (51%) and motor vehicle traffic crashes are second (9%). With MTBI, the older age is known to negatively influence outcome after the injury.

Elderly people with a MTBI may have a higher risk of serious complications such as a blood clot on the brain.

Signs and symptoms of an MTBI in elderly patients:

  • Headaches that get progressively worse;
  • Increased confusion;
  • Listlessness, tiring easily;
  • Crankiness;
  • Sad or depressed mood;
  • Change in eating habits;
  • Change in sleeping patterns;
  • Lack of interest in routine activities;
  • New vision problems;
  • Loss of balance or unsteady walking.

Failure to identify brain injuries is a common problem: an MTBI diagnosis is often missed when other serious injuries are present.

This problem is compounded for elderly people with other illnesses or injuries. Often, victims ignore their symptoms, and try to “tough it out”. I have seen this in numerous brain injury cases in my years as a trial lawyer.

An elderly person should see a doctor as soon as possible after suffering a bump or blow to the head, even if there are no immediate signs or symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.

See also: Understanding Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries


Photo courtesy of hin255, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.