Injuries in a Nursing Home May Signal Abuse
Accidents such as trips and falls are more common in the older generation. To prevent the serious consequences of such an accident, families often encourage older members to enter a nursing home where their well-being should be carefully monitored. However, this is not always the case. Let’s look at the different types of nursing home injuries, how and why they happen and how they can be prevented and when they signal abuse.
Bedsores Can Be Painful and Dangerous
When a nursing home resident is unable to get out of bed or confined to a wheelchair for most of the day, the risk of developing a bedsore is high. The skin is unable to withstand pressure for extended periods of time and breaks down.
When this happens, it is a nidus for infection. The area needs to be cleaned regularly with anti-infectives and, in some cases, antibiotics may be necessary. When this type of care is not provided, the person may develop a systemic infection, which could be life-threatening.
Bedrail Injuries in the Nursing Home
Older individuals, particularly those who cannot move of their own volution, often suffer bedrail injuries. If they are in a hospital bed with rails, they can become entangled or trapped in the bars. This can result in serious injuries and deaths. In the latter situation, the patient is unable to call for help since they cannot signal the nursing staff or are unable to make themselves heard.
Manufacturing mistakes are another reason for bedrail injuries. Studies have shown that manufacturer error is responsible for large gaps that can cause this type of injury. Residents of nursing homes may also be suffocated when the bars compress their chest or throat. The FDA has not provided sufficient warnings to keep the elderly safe from bedrail accidents.
Concussions and Other Head Injuries
When an elderly individual falls, the risk of a head injury is significant. For instance, hitting the head from a standing or sitting position can result in a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or a subdural hematoma. Concussions often resolve on their own within six months, but due to advanced age, it may take a bigger toll and a longer time to heal.
Subdural hematomas usually result from a blow to the head that is strong enough to disrupt blood vessels resulting in cranial bleeding. However, an older person can develop a pooling of blood between one of the membranes protecting the brain and the brain itself even if the impact is minor. This occurs because the blood vessels are more fragile and bleed easily. The blood puts pressure on the brain, causing headaches, vomiting, neurological trauma and even death unless it is surgically treated.
Fractures in a Nursing Home
Broken bones can result from falls, slips and other activities. Since older individuals have weaker bones, even a minor fall can result in a fracture. Prevention rests on removing objects or other threats to falls such as rugs that are not secured.
Another problem with falls is that older individuals do not heal as quickly as younger people. In order to get around, they may be reliant on walkers or crutches. Nursing homes need to train the injured patient to use such devices and institute rehabilitation programs.
Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in a nursing home often is related to staffing. In the United States, one out of every three nursing homes is cited for abuse. This is often the result of inadequate training and screening, while other caregivers are found to be inattentive, ignoring the need for supervision. In other nursing homes, the number of staff is inadequate to fully care for the residents’ needs. An attorney can help families file a claim against the nursing home to help prevent similar staff behavior in the future.
Olinde Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
At the Olinde Law Firm, we make ourselves available to families dealing with nursing home abuse. We investigate the situation and look to see if the nursing home has been cited before. If you suspect abuse in a nursing home, call the Olinde Law Firm at (800) 587-1889. We will do everything in our power to resolve the case successfully. We can also be reached online.