Fractures in Nursing Homes
Senior citizens are more prone to fractures because their bones have become much more fragile and certain medical conditions may increase the risk they may be involved in accidents that result in these injuries. Nursing care facilities must create treatment plans for each patient that takes into account his or her risk factors and take the needed steps to ensure that the risk of injury is minimized through supervision and special accommodations when necessary. The nursing home injury attorneys of Nursing Home Law Center LLC feel that many of these facilities fail to take adequate measures to prevent fractures and should be held liable when their negligent actions result in bodily harm.The Causes of Fractures in Nursing Homes
Our nursing home abuse lawyers have noticed that inadequate staffing can be linked to many accidents — and that individual caregivers may be unable to provide quality care due to a lack of resources and excessive burden. For-profit nursing companies have prioritized profits over patient well-being, which is an atrocity when considering just how much we pay these organizations to care for the people who we love. In addition to poor staffing, many facilities do not offer the training needed to ensure that staff members are able to prevent and respond to emergencies.
Here are the primary causes of fractures and how they can be prevented.
Slip and trip accidents — many nursing home injuries result from environmental hazards or poor supervision. Slip and trip incidents can be prevented by ensuring patients are properly supervised and that hazards such as low profile furniture, clutter and other objects are not placed in the path that patients are likely to travel. Wet floors should be marked and patients assisted whenever they must walk over them.
Falls when moving into or out of bed or a chair — patients with poor mobility should be assisted whenever they are entering or exiting bed or getting into or out of their wheelchairs. There are many ways a caregiver can place a resident at risk, including failing to ensure that the brakes on a chair or mobile bed are locked, failing to supervise the patient or dropping the patient during the transition. Prevention of these injuries requires adequate supervision and training.
Accidents when entering or exiting a vehicle — the nursing facility and medical transport staff can be held responsible if a patient is injured when entering or exiting a vehicle on the way to an appointment or to the hospital. The most common accident occurs when the patient is dropped or the staff member forgets to apply the wheelchair brakes before helping the patient into or out of the vehicle.
Fractures suffered due to physical assault — occasionally a staff member, fellow resident or visitor may assault a patient, inflicting physical and emotional damage that cannot be easily mended. If the assault results in broken bones, the victim is entitled to the cost of medical treatment as well as the cost of any other therapy and rehabilitation needed to cope with the incident.
While it is possible for patients to experience fractures anywhere on their bodies, the elderly are more prone to experience fractures in certain areas of the body than others. Following are the most common types of fractures that our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers encounter.
Hip fractures — elderly patients who fracture their hips are far more likely to permanently lose their mobility or to require artificial hip replacement surgery. The loss of mobility often results in a diminished quality of life and patients who suffer hip fractures have an increased risk of premature death.
Wrist fractures — when falling, it is an instinctual reflex for us to throw our hands forward in order to brace ourselves for impact. The unfortunate result of this reflex is that it can exacerbate the injuries by placing the wrist in a positon where it can break. As we age, our bones become much weaker and our wrists are not able to protect us in the event of a fall as they may have when we were younger.
Broken ankles and feet — when encountering environmental hazards or obstacles, it is possible for patients to twist their ankles severely in an effort to avoid the fall. Instead of experiencing a sprain or muscle tear, the ankle or foot may fracture when it is weakened through old age.
Broken skull — when a patient falls to the ground, his or her head may impact with considerable force, resulting in a cracked or broken skull. Even when the skull remains unbroken, there is the potential for a traumatic brain injury.
Whenever your loved one is injured while under the care of someone charged with his or her safety, it is your right and duty to ask hard questions about how and why the event occurred. Many nursing facilities will try to provide a cover story that exonerates them of blame, but you should be wary when the explanation of events does not add up. If you have any reason at all to suspect that your loved one’s fracture was the result of negligence or abuse, contact an attorney right away.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC has provided award-winning legal services for many years and our nursing injury law team has extensive experience handling these types of cases and a track record of success when pursuing justice on behalf of our clients. Our knowledge and record will give you the greatest chance of recovering every bit of compensation you are entitled to.
Contact us today to arrange a risk-free and confidential consultation with one of our highly qualified nursing home injury attorneys so that we can gather all of the information we need to investigate your claim and advise you on the best course of action. We will let you know about your rights and review all of your legal options so that you know exactly what you can expect. Our services also come with a guarantee so you can rest assured that unless we recover compensation on your behalf, our services are free of charge.Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources