Injuries Frequently Seen in Nursing Homes
Nursing home injuries vary depending on the health status of the individual. Some are accidental and others are intentional, yet the majority are preventable and should not happen. Government oversight is lacking in most areas and relies on reports of abuse, either internally or by visitors to the facility.
That is why it is necessary for families to be vigilant, watching for signs of nursing home injuries. To help you, we have put together an overview of injuries commonly found in nursing homes, what you need to look for and what can be done to keep your loved one safe.
Frequent Injuries in a Nursing Home
Some of the most common nursing home injuries are:
- Trips and falls: Bedbound patients experience the majority of falls, especially when they try to leave their beds to visit the bathroom. Part of the problem here is the lack of assistance. Other issues come into play though and are oversights in prevention. For instance, loose rugs in the patient’s room, lack of handrails for assistance or the use of walkers can be a problem for those who are less mobile. It is the nursing home’s responsibility to be vigilant for trip and fall hazards.
- Concussion: This is frequently the result of a fall. Blows to the head should always be evaluated with a trip to the doctor or a CT scan if needed. Older individuals do not always display immediate symptoms of a concussion or go on to develop a subdural hematoma, a traumatic brain injury that requires surgical intervention in many cases.
- Broken bones: Falls often lead to fractured bones that require medical intervention.
- Spinal injuries: Falls are accountable for many spinal injuries. Here, the source of the spinal injury should be investigated and may be a form of abuse.
- Infections: Living in close quarters, nursing home residents are exposed to many pathogens. That is why the nursing home needs to embrace extreme hygiene and infection protection. Also, if an infection occurs, it should be treated promptly with a physician visit. Not doing this is a form of abuse.
- Fractures: As people age, their bones become more fragile. This is particularly true if they don’t have a balanced diet or one supplemented with Vitamin D and calcium. Without proper treatment, a fracture can be disabling.
- Guardrail injuries: Guardrails are used to keep the residents safely in bed. But, if the guardrail does not fit properly, the resident can get stuck, leading to suffocation or other fatal injuries.
- Bedsores: These are common in bed-bound patients who are not rotated throughout the day since consistent pressure on one body part interrupts blood flow. Some bedsores are not treated properly and erode the skin barrier and burrow into the subcutaneous fat or bone. When bedsores advance to this level, local or disseminated infection is possible and can be overwhelming for the elderly.
- Asphyxiation: Older individuals often have a problem swallowing. When this exists, it is important that the nursing home provide an aide to help at mealtime.
- Lacerations or bruises that have no explanation: When your loved one displays bruises or lacerations that are not explainable, you need to press deeper. If the staff refuses to answer or offers an implausible reason for their presence, you need to investigate. It could be due to mishandling or sexual abuse.
Morris Law Firm in South Carolina
If a loved one has suffered injuries in a nursing home, the cost of treatment and the suffering they experience are often recoverable. That is where the Morris Law Firm can help. Give us a call at (843) 232-0944, or reach out to us online to schedule a free case review. We will be able to tell you if you have a legal claim against the nursing home, implement that claim and see if local authorities need to be alerted.