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b2ap3_thumbnail_broken-bones-nursing-home-elderly.jpgIf you have a loved one in a nursing home, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about him or her. You may worry about your loved ones medical conditions, the quality of care that they are receiving at the nursing home, how staff are treating your loved one, and the risk of injury. Nursing home residents almost always have physical issues which make them more likely to trip, fall, or otherwise injure themselves. Sometimes, a nursing home resident sustains a broken bone or fracture simply due to bad luck. However, frequent injuries, broken bones which are not promptly addressed by staff, or broken bones which do not heal properly can all be signs that your loved one may be experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect.

Causes of Broken Bones in Nursing Homes

Many residents have medical issues which make them more likely to become injured. The most common cause of nursing home injuries, including fractures and broken bones, is falling. Nursing home residents over age 65 are four times more likely to die after falling as compared to elderly individuals who live who do not live in a nursing home. A fall can be caused by environmental hazards like poor lighting, walkway obstacles, slippery floors, and loose rugs. When unchecked hazards such as these cause a resident to fall and be injured, the nursing home facility may be held legally responsible for the injuries the resident sustained. A resident can also suffer a broken bone when staff make mistakes while transferring the resident in and out of bed or their wheelchair. Sadly, another cause of nursing home broken bones and fractures is intentional physical abuse.

Seeking Compensation for Mistreatment

Nursing home staff have a legal obligation to provide a certain level of competent care to residents. Although staff cannot prevent every injury-causing accident from occurring, some injuries are avoidable. When nursing home staff fail to uphold their duty of care to their residents, they can be considered negligent. If nursing home negligence caused your loved one to suffer a broken bone or other injury, you may be able to hold the nursing home accountable for their wrongdoing through a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to receive compensation for things like medical bills, physical therapy, prescription medication costs, pain and suffering, and more.

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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.

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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.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIf you have an elderly relative, chances are you often worry about their safety. Older individuals often have decreased muscle mass and bone density. A fall that might only result in minor bruising on a young person may cause several broken bones in an elderly individual. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3 million elderly individuals are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries every year. More than 95 percent of all hip fractures are caused by falling and falls are the most frequent cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falling injuries resulted in over $50 billion in medical bills in 2015 alone.

Remove Environmental Hazards to Help Prevent Falls

Understandably, all falls cannot be prevented. However, it is the obligation of every caregiver to take steps to prevent elder falls. If you have an elderly loved one, a few environmental changes may decrease the chance that he or she is injured or killed in a fall. Firstly, remove tripping hazards like clutter or loose electrical cords on the floor. Secure loose floor rugs with double-sided tape or remove them entirely. Repair or replace broken furniture or loose floorboards. Install nonslip mats and safety rails in the bathroom. Encourage your loved one to use his or her walker or cane if necessary. Lastly, make sure the lighting is adequate for your loved one to see his or her surroundings clearly.

Nursing Home Falls May Be a Sign of Neglect

Injuries from falling account for about 36 percent of theoretically preventable emergency room visits by nursing home residents. Not every nursing home resident who falls has been neglected. However, an unusual frequency of falls or falls that go unreported may be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Conditions that can cause falls to happen more often include:

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Illinois nursing home falls lawyerThe average, healthy person probably does not give much thought to the dangers of falling. This is rather understandable because a fall is not a very common thing for most people—at least those who are still fairly young. For a senior citizen or the resident of a nursing home, a fall can be absolutely devastating. The injuries sustained in a fall can be quite serious and even fatal. In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls represent the leading cause of accidental death and injury for Americans aged 65 and older.

A Growing Segment of the Population

According to the CDC, older Americans suffered some 29 million falls in 2014. About 10 percent (2.8 million) of these falls required emergency medical treatment, and about 800,000 were hospitalized as a result of their falls. More than 27,000 falls eventually led to death. In 2016, about 3 million older adults required emergency care for falls, and nearly 30,000 victims died.

Considering that approximately 10,000 Americans reach age 65 every day, these numbers are expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future. “Older falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC.

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Illinois nursing home neglect lawyersThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, in any given year, almost three-quarters of all nursing home residents suffer a fall. Furthermore, many of these patients fall more than once per year. While a slip and fall may not be injury-causing to a young, healthy person, seemingly minor falls can have serious consequences for someone whose body is weakened by illness, injury, or old age. Sadly, falls cause around 1,800 nursing home resident deaths each year.

What Causes Falls?

People staying in nursing homes generally are there because they are at least partially unable to care for themselves. For some residents, this is due to a mental incapacitation such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Other residents are recovering from major surgery or other invasive medical procedures. Many nursing home residents experience muscle weakness or gait problems. These factors can make a person much more likely to slip and fall. Sometimes, hazards such wet floors, incorrect bed height, poor lighting, and inadequate equipment further increase risks of falls.

CDC Says Many Falls Go Unreported

Approximately 36 percent of preventable emergency room visits by nursing home patients are caused by falls. An average-sized nursing home—one containing about 100 beds—generally reports about 100 to 200 falls a year. Unfortunately, the CDC says that this information may not accurately reflect the number of falls actually happening in nursing homes across the country. Realistically, many falls are never reported, so the real number is likely to be much higher.

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Chicago nursing home abuse lawyersNursing home staff have one of the most important responsibilities in our society: caring for our elders. Tragically, some nursing home staff do not take this responsibility seriously. Nursing home resident neglect and abuse are serious issues. More than two million cases of elder abuse are reported every year. It is estimated that one out of every ten elderly individuals in nursing home facilities will experience some type of abuse. While efforts are being made by regulatory agencies and advocacy groups to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect, the current state of many nursing homes is unacceptable.

Shocking Camera Footage from Inside Michigan Nursing Home

The family of an 89-year-old Lebanese man is suing a Michigan nursing home after footage surfaced of caretakers abusing the elderly man. The resident was admitted to the facility in 2015 after undergoing a bowel obstruction surgery. His son was the first to grow concerned about his father’s safety. The son noticed his father was often covered in cuts and bruises. The octogenarian was also rapidly losing weight.

Family Claims Man Was Physically and Psychologically Abused

The elderly resident’s cuts and bruises, according to nursing home staff, were a result of the man falling eleven times throughout five months. In order to get to the bottom of his father’s injuries, the man’s adult son hid a camera in an alarm clock next to his father’s bed. The family of the man claims that the hidden camera captured over 100 clips of the staff’s neglectful behavior. Additionally, the footage is claimed to include instances of physical abuse and even ethnic slurs directed at the 89-year-old.

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Chicago nursing home injury attorneyWhen a family decides to place a parent or other loved one in a nursing home, they expect a certain level of care. Residents of nursing homes require a significant amount of assistance doing everyday tasks such as eating and bathing. Furthermore, most nursing home residents have serious health issues which make them unable to care for themselves. Nursing home staff have a responsibility to keep individuals in their care safe and comfortable to the best of their ability. When staff are negligent and do not provide the expected level of care to their patients, they can be held liable.

Elderly Woman Dies After Fall

A $50,000 lawsuit filed recently in the Kane County Circuit Court claims that a North Aurora nursing home failed to properly monitor an elderly woman and that this negligence led to her death. The 86-year-old woman passed away in February of 2016. A year prior to her death, she was admitted to the North Aurora nursing home. The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the elderly woman was a high risk for falls, and that the nursing home staff should have taken certain precautions to prevent this.

The plaintiffs claim that the nursing home had a responsibility to evaluate the woman’s risk of falling and then provide adequate supervision and assistance in order to prevent her from hurting herself. Unfortunately, within the same month as her arrival, the woman did fall and suffered serious injuries. In addition to needing ten stitches, the 86 year-old suffered cervical, nasal and orbital fractures. The suit claims that this fall led to the woman’s physical and mental decline and, eventually, her death. The complaint also alleges that the Illinois nursing home failed to appropriately train staff and follow its own policies and procedures for supervising residents.

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