Lawyer Resources for Fractures

Elderly and FallsOne of the largest concerns for the elderly is preventing falls. They are the largest cause of injury death for people 65 years and older, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  In 2008, 19,700 older adults died from fall injuries and in 2009, 2.2 million fall injuries were treated at emergency rooms across the country.

Causes Of Falls

Falls occur more often with the elderly for various reasons, most of them linked to

How Do You Prevent Nursing Home AbuseWhen a family makes the difficult decision to place their loved one in the care of a nursing home, they hope the provided caregivers will be as loving and responsible as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many elders are abused in nursing homes due to their age and physical frailty. Often, this abuse is in the form of neglect. In order to make sure your family doesn’t fall prey to nursing home abuse, look for the 5 warning signs below.

Look For Bruises, Pressure Marks, And Broken Bones

In the unfortunate event that physical violence is being used against the elderly, there will often be a mark. One place to look is one the wrists and ankles to determine if unnecessary confinements are being used. Anytime your elderly family encounters a broken bone, make sure to fully understand what happened to ensure it was not abuse such as hitting or shoving that led to it.

elderly lady with caneIt’s no secret that falls in the elderly nursing home population remain one of the largest threats to patients safety and overall well-being.  Recognizing this threat, nursing homes must assess each patient for their potential fall-risk and create a plan of care to reduce the incidence of falls during their stay at the facility. 

While fall precautions may including common sense precautions such as: staff assistance, walkers or modification of bed heights— new research suggests that nursing homes need to begin evaluate patient’s use of common antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) which dramatically increase a patient’s risk of falling.

A recently published study in the British Journal of Pharmacology conducted by clinicians in the Netherlands followed a group of 248 nursing home patients diagnosed with dementia over a two-year period. 

senior falling.jpgFalls in nursing homes are one of the biggest safety threats encountered by patients. Statistics tell use that more than one-third of all adults over age 65 fall unintentionally every year.

A sizable percentage of these falls result in severe injury or death predominately due to complications from head injury or hip fractures.

Recognizing the severity of the problem, federal regulations require nursing homes to conduct a fall-risk assessment of all newly admitted patients both at the time of their admission and conduct similar follow up on a quarterly basis or when the patients health care needs dictate.

fractured femur.jpgWhen it comes to prosecuting cases involving fractures of unknown origin, one of the primary defenses proposed by nursing homes is that the fracture was simply “spontaneous”.

In other words, due to the patient’s weakened state, the bone likely fractured simply as a result of the person’s own weight, taking a particular type of medication or as a result of their own movement that may have put awkward pressure on a particular area.

While there indeed may be situations where fractures occur for the reasons mentioned above, many experts in the medical community will agree that such instances of spontaneous fractures are quite rare.  Having prosecuted cases involving a fracture of unknown origin, I frequently consult with orthopedists or other physicians who can examine a patient’s x-rays to evaluate if the fracture was related to trauma.

Turning and repositioning are key elements in the prevention of decubitus ulcers (also known as: pressure ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores).  In the process of repositioning patients, staff are to move the patient in their bed to relieve unrelieved pressure from areas on the body in contact with the bed.

Depending on the patients size and ability to move themselves, one or more staff members may be required to assist in the repositioning process.  Regardless of how many staff are involved in the repositioning process, moving patients should be done gently as feasible to avoid alarming them to make sure any rigid limbs (contractures) do not get caught in the process.

Fractures Caused By Turning and RepositioningAlong these lines, a nursing home negligence lawsuit filed against an Illinois nursing home now claims that the staffs’ negligence in repositioning is to blame for the leg and knee fractures of an elderly woman.

Defects With DePuy Hip Replacement HardwareEvery year, almost 200,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed in the United States for a variety of reasons including trauma and arthritic conditions.

For many of the hip-replacement patients, a hip replacement surgery is particularly difficult due to the invasive nature of the procedure and the lengthy recovery time.

As a lawyer who frequently works with the elderly, I have witnessed how a hip replacement procedure can really negatively impact the quality of life.  Sadly, hip replacement surgeries in many elderly people results in a rapid downward spiral in their physical and psychological well-being.  Some studies suggest that more than 25% of patients over 65-years-old will die within a year of the procedure.

If you were playing a word association game, I bet you’d be hard pressed to combine nursing home patients and car accidents!  While the terms may mix like oil and water in many contexts, in my world as a nursing home lawyer I frequently see the two intermixed– and the the results certainly don’t favor the patients.

In my nursing home ligation practice, I see many cases where nursing home patients are horribly injured in car accidents either as pedestrians or as passengers in vans.  While most think about nursing home patients passing time in an idyllic setting, the truth is that there is a significant portion of the nursing home population that leaves the facility for their personal recreation, visit with doctors or tend to personal business.

Because auto accidents make up a significant number of accidents for nursing home patients, I plan on going into the three major categories of automobile injury cases affecting nursing home patients and the respective liability issues for both driver and nursing facility.

Picture-321In times of need, locating necessary information regarding the legal rights and resources for nursing home patients can be difficult and imposing.  In this respect, we are proud to introduce a new resource for patients, families and practitioners looking for a concise compilation of information regarding nursing home laws.  Nursing Home Injury Laws, provides every states’:

  • Nursing Home Laws
  • Medical Malpractice Laws

iStock_000009158416XSmall1Many elderly people suffer broken bones during admissions to nursing homes due to; falls, being dropped, or perhaps improper care from staff.  Regardless how the fracture occurred, a fractured bone in the elderly must be timely identified and treated.

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a broken bone that requires medical attention. Fifty percent of women over age fifty and twenty-five percent of men over age fifty will suffer from an age-related bone fracture sometime in their lifetime.

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