Lawyer Resources for Unknown Fractures

broken-bones-in-nursing-homesEven though there are millions of Americans who suffer broken bones every year, broken bones become far more dangerous when they happen to older people. While sometimes broken bones in nursing homes cannot not be prevented, oftentimes nursing home staff inexperience or negligence may lead to serious injuries to residents, sometimes even in death. According to CDC research, every year 1,800 elderly Americans die in nursing homes because of falls or fall-related injuries. As the number of elderly is only going to increase in the coming decade, the problem is going to continue to develop until we enforce stricter, preventative measures.

Types of broken bones

Remember that not every broken bone is the same. Some may heal on their own while others may require surgery. The different types include:

  • Traumatic fractures – The cause of these bone breaks are typically injury. In older Americans, it can happen because of a simple fall that would not have been a problem years ago. As people age, their coordination skills tend to decrease. This means that older adults are more susceptible to falls.
  • Compression fractures – These are also known as a spontaneous fracture. This will happen randomly without there being a direct incident. People with frail bones and osteoporosis may experience compression fractures. Even just walking may lead to a broken bone for those who are at risk for compression fractures.
  • Stress fracture – These are small cracks in the bone, usually caused by a repetitive motion. The common locations for these stress fractures are the lower parts of the legs and feet. While staff members at a nursing facility may not be directly responsible for these types of broken bones, they are responsible for assisting in medical check-ups and monitoring patients. If the stress fracture is not treated, it will likely increase the cracks in the bone over time. This leads to swelling and intense pain.

Nursing home liability and broken bones

Even though the elderly are at a far greater risk for falls, it is important that we remember that nursing homes have a responsibility when it comes to minimizing possible risks. Oftentimes it would have been possible to prevent fall-related injuries if the nursing home staff took proper precautions or had been paying closer attention to the residents. Sometimes the problem is related to negligence, other times it has to do with understaffing or improperly trained staff members.

The nursing home may be liable if a resident falls and suffers broken bones or other injuries. Other instances of the nursing home being held liable include excessive use of physical restraints, physical abuse by another resident or a staff member, or not providing proper safety equipment.

Why it is important to take action

If someone close to you suffers broken bones because of malpractice, abuse, or neglect by nursing home staff, it is important to take action. This is not merely about paying for incurred medical bills or recovering from pain and suffering. It is about making people aware of a problem in that particular nursing home. In speaking out and taking action, you can help keep other patients safe in the future.

A nursing home negligence law firm handling injury and fracture cases

Many nursing homes will go to great lengths to explain how a fracture many occurred to an elderly patient– all without fault of the facility. Given that many broken bones are painful and require surgery or other invasive procedures, we strongly feel that every instance a patient sustains a broken bone in a nursing home merits an investigation by an attorney with experience handling these cases. Our nursing home abuse attorneys have successfully recovered compensation for nursing home patients who may sustain fractures due to falls, being dropped by staff, physical abuse or even unexplained circumstances. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to learn more about our practice and about how we can help in your particular situation.

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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

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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.

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Hip Fractures in the Elderly Can Have a Hard RecoveryWhen an elderly person is injured in a nursing home, his or her chances of survival can become slim. If the nursing facility is understaffed or lacks resources, an elderly person may be unable to ever properly heal from his or her injuries. Nursing home workers may not be attuned to the needs of the injured victim. They may fail to notice the development of an infection or other serious health issues.

It is important that you pay attention to the recovery of your loved one in a nursing home. If your loved one has been involved in an accident or fall, you should make sure that the nursing home delivers the care that your loved one requires. Federal and state laws mandate that nursing home residents receive adequate care. Under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing home residents have the right to reside in a facility free from abuse, neglect and mistreatment.

Statistics Indicate Poor Survival for Residents with Hip Fractures

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handicapped-bathroom-300x225Skilled nursing facilities must conduct an assessment of every patient when they enter the facility to determine—amongst other things, how much (if any) assistance is required for particular activities. For patients with physical limitations, there is almost universally some level of assistance necessary from staff in order for the patient to function safely. While not always a primary consideration, facilities must consider the level of assistance required when patients are in the bathroom.  For patients who require the assistance of one or two staff members, the supervisory protocols must be adhered to even in situations where patients normally request privacy.

Goodbye Privacy, Hello Safe Practices

Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as privacy for a patient who requires the assistance of staff members.  Even if a patient requests to be left alone, staff must adhere to the prescribed regimen. I was reminded about this tricky situation of keeping patients safe—even when they request privacy–. When I began reviewing the records on a new nursing home negligence case. The circumstances of the case are relatively common: a 90-year-old woman who was admitted to a nursing home for rehabilitation following a stroke that left her with essentially no mobility of her right side. On admission, the staff at the facility (correctly) determined that this patient required the ‘full’ assistance of two staff members for virtually all activities.

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Mother’s Assault in Nursing HomeOn Friday, April 13, Louise Jones received the call that every daughter dreads.

“They told me that my mom had taken a blow to the head,” said Jones, whose mother, Elizabeth Kennedy, is a resident at the Maple Grove Health and Rehabilitation Center in Greensboro, NC. “She’s 86 and defenseless, and I wasn’t there to protect her.”

According to Greensboro’s local FOX affiliate, staff at Maple Grove called police after noticing a large bruise on Kennedy’s head. It was unclear from the report who noticed the bruise, or why the facility decided to reach out to authorities when it did. A photo used in the FOX report shows a 2- 3-inch purplish mark above Kennedy’s right eyebrow.

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Bed Alarms In Nursing HomesVarious alarms devises are frequently used by nursing homes and hospitals to help keep staff updated as to changes in a resident’s condition or notified in circumstances where a patient may be at risk for harming themselves.

For example, in the case of patients who may be at risk for falling, an alarm on a patient’s bed or chair may alert staff that the patient has moved and staff should address the situation before a patient sustains a fall.

Similarly, in the case of patients on a ventilator, an alarm may be used to notify staff when there is a problem with the machine or when a patient’s oxygen level has dropped.

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Communication in Short-Term Nursing Home Admissions

For many people, a short term admission to a nursing home to recover from an illness or provide a break to a caregiver sounds like a reasonable proposition.  While many of these people are not inclined to use the services of a nursing home for their long-term care needs, there appears to be more of a willingness to use nursing homes for a fixed period. 

After all, how much could possibly go wrong during a short term admission of just a few days or weeks?

Despite the short time horizon, without the nursing home’s understanding of patient needs and an understanding from the family concerning the type of care that nursing homes are capable of providing, short term admissions—of any duration– can lead to patient injury and even death.

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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. 

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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.

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Violence Perpetrated By Other PatientsYet another episode of nursing home violence was reported at a facility in Southwest Florida when a resident attacked his roommate over a disagreement as to the positioning of the window curtains.  Even though there was a nurse nearby, the victim of the abuse suffered severe facial bruising and fractures that required medical attention at a hospital.

An unknown risk

Probably the last thing patients and families consider when selecting a facility is the possibility of violence— perpetrated by another patient at the facility!  Leaving families further in the dark is the fact that poor decision making on the part of the facility significantly increases the risk of violence to their loved one.

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