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Seven Signs of a Bone Fracture in a Cook County Nursing Home Resident

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

cook county nursing home abuse lawyerFew people want to think about themselves or anyone else suffering from a fractured or broken bone, but they are common injuries that result from daily living. For most people, communicating the pain of a bone injury is easy to do because such an injury is difficult to mistake for anything else. 

Some bone fractures, however, do not necessarily have outward indicators that would let an observer immediately know that something is wrong. This can be especially hazardous to an elderly nursing home resident who may struggle to communicate that they are in pain. Nursing home staff and managers have a responsibility to ensure that any bone fractures are quickly diagnosed and treated, but they may fail to do so for many reasons. If your loved one is in a nursing home and you fear they may have suffered from abuse or neglect due to a failure to diagnose a bone fracture, read on. 

Signs of a Bone Fracture

Bone fractures are classified into two basic categories: Open fractures, when a bone breaks and pokes through the skin, and closed fractures when a bone is broken but the skin is not. In the case of open fractures, these injuries are obvious and easy to diagnose. However, some fractures can be very small, leaving no discernable outward signs but leaving the person with the fracture in significant and sometimes even debilitating pain. 

Elderly nursing home residents are at greater risk of suffering from a bone fracture because they may have osteoporosis or another disease that reduces the mineral density of their bones. Residents may also have difficulty moving without help, leaving them vulnerable to fractures from a trip, slip, or fall. 

Signs that a bone may be fractured in an elderly person include: 

  • Sudden and otherwise inexplicable pain

  • Trouble moving or using the injured body part, or nearby body parts

  • The inability to bear weight, such as with an ankle fracture

  • Swelling or bruising

  • Warmth or redness

  • Visible deformity, like a lump or bump in a strange place 

  • Sudden inability to sleep 

Why Would a Nursing Home Fail to Diagnose a Bone Fracture? 

Nursing homes commonly struggle with several challenges that may make staff late to diagnose an injury without obvious external signs. These may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Understaffing 

  • High staff turnover that results in lack of familiarity with residents

  • Inadequate supervision

  • Failure to address resident complaints 

  • In the most egregious cases, staff who can tell that a resident is suffering but simply do not care 

 

Residents who have dementia or other degenerative mental illnesses may not be able to communicate verbally. However, they can often use other means to communicate their pain, such as calling out, groaning, shouting, restlessness, or rubbing a body part. Staff should be on the alert for this behavior, especially if it is new or uncharacteristic. 

Meet with a Cook County Nursing Home Injury Lawyer

Unidentified fractures can leave your loved one in serious pain and a debilitating injury. If you suspect the nursing home with which you entrusted your loved one has failed to provide an adequate standard of care, leaving a fracture undiagnosed and untreated, you may be able to get help from a skilled Chicago, IL nursing home injury attorney with Schwartz Injury Law. We have worked successfully with many clients to seek justice and prevent future injury. We also provide free consultations so you can learn more about your case at no risk to you. Contact our offices today to learn more at 312-535-4625

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1225&ChapterID=21 
https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/f/fractures.html

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