Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

60 W. Randolph Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

5 Convenient Locations - Available 24/7 - We can travel to you
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in dangers

Cook County nursing home injury attorneysThanks to advances in medical care and disease prevention, Americans live much longer lives on average than we did in decades past. As the “Baby Boomer” generation grows older, the demand for long-term care facilities like nursing homes grows too. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are struggling to keep up with the increase in nursing home residents. When nursing home residents are not properly supervised and cared for, they can fall and injure themselves. Some falls can even lead to a nursing home resident’s death or permanent disability. Read on to learn about the most common causes of falls and what you can do if you think your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

Slip and Fall Injuries Can Be Deadly

Just recently, an elderly WWII veteran died at a nursing home after staff left him alone without supervision. The man tipped backwards in his wheelchair causing a massive brain bleed that eventually resulted in his death. Sadly, this is not an isolated event. In fact, more than 1,800 nursing home residents die because of falls every year. There are many issues which can increase a resident’s likelihood of falling. These include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental hazards such as obstacles on the ground, wet floors, and poor lighting;
  • Faulty, broken, or poorly maintained equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, bedrails, and furniture;
  • Physical ailments which cause difficulty walking;
  • Dizziness or disorientation caused by medication;
  • Confusion related to advanced age, dementia, or Alzheimer’s Disease;
  • Muscle deterioration or weakness; and
  • Injuries or medical problems with a resident’s legs or feet.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Can Lead to Falls

Sometimes a nursing home resident falls and there is no way to have prevented the fall. However, there are an astounding number of nursing home falls which could be prevented.

...

Cook County nursing home injury attorneysWhen a nursing home resident slips and falls, it is not the same as when a healthy person falls. Nursing home residents are usually elderly and/or disabled, so a fall which would only leave a small bruise on a healthy person could do much more damage. While some falls are inevitable, nursing home staff have a duty to prevent as many falls as possible. They have a responsibility to their residents as well as to the residents’ families to keep the facility as safe as possible. When nursing home staff do not take this responsibility seriously, residents can fall and be injured or even killed.

Falls Continue to be a Problem in Nursing Homes Across the Country

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1,800 nursing home residents pass away every year from injuries related to falls. Many of these falls result in serious damage such as and broken bones traumatic brain injury. Even those residents who survive a fall can be left with terrible pain and bodily damage that further reduces their quality of life. It can be hard to know for sure how many nursing home falls are the result of poor care and how many are simply due to a weakened resident. However, the CDC reports that nursing home falls occur twice as often as falls among elderly people not living in a nursing home. On average, nursing homes with 100 beds will report between 100 to 200 falls every year, but, according to the CDC, this is only a fraction of the falls which actually occur.

How to Prevent Falls in Elderly or Disabled Residents

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the best ways to help prevent falls is to remove as many environmental hazards as possible. Obstacles like boxes, electrical cords, and other items should not be left in walkways. Loose rugs should be taped down or otherwise secured so that no one will trip over them. Loose carpeting and floorboards should be quickly repaired. Any liquids which are spilled should be quickly cleaned up so that a resident does not slip and fall. Safety precautions like nonslip mats and bathroom handles can also help prevent falls. If your loved one is in a nursing home and staff do not care enough to take these types of precautions, this is a red flag. A nursing home which does not care to prevent avoidable falls is likely mistreating residents in other ways too.

...

Chicago nursing home abuse lawyersStaff at a nursing home have a responsibility to keep the residents of a nursing home safe and as comfortable as possible. When families place a loved one in a nursing home, they are assuming that the medical staff there will treat the new resident with appropriate medical care. Tragically, this is not always the case. Some nursing homes are understaffed or their staff is not adequately trained, which can result in medicine being given superfluously or necessary medicine being withheld.

Alarming Study Results 

According to a recent study conducted by the Human Rights Watch, approximately 179,000 nursing home residents are being given medicine which is not intended to treat the illness they have. Antipsychotic drugs such as aripiprazole, olanzapine, and quetiapine are used to manage psychosis. Individuals suffering from delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or a disconnection from reality are generally given these medications as a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The problem is that about 179,000 nursing home residents being given this medicine do not have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other mental illnesses that those drugs are designed to treat.

Many of the residents being given these medications have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia which antipsychotics are not approved to treat. Even more disturbing, antipsychotic drugs come with a "black box warning" from the FDA.  Black box warnings are the strictest labeling requirements that the FDA can mandate. These warnings are used to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks associated with the medication. The black box warning on antipsychotics states that they increase the risk of death in older people with dementia. The study also found that antipsychotic drugs were administered to residents without their informed consent. The purpose of using antipsychotic medications for residents who do not require them is often to make dementia patients “easier to handle” in understaffed facilities.

...
Back to Top