What Is a Nursing Home Injury?
A nursing home injury is any type of physical harm that an elderly person suffers while staying at a long-term care facility.
As people age, their risk of certain injuries, like falls and severe infections, increases. To reduce the risk of accidental injury, families may place their loved one in a nursing home so they have round-the-clock care.
However, seniors can still suffer serious injuries in nursing homes. In far too many cases, these injuries stem from nursing home abuse. Abuse can leave seniors traumatized, permanently disabled, or worse.
Common nursing home injuries include:
- Bedrail injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
Staff members who abuse or neglect residents do the exact opposite of what their job entrusts them to do: help seniors live out their lives comfortably and with dignity. And these malicious staff members should be held responsible for their actions.
Causes of Nursing Home Injuries
A nursing home injury can stem from many different causes. Some of these injuries can be simple accidents, such as when a resident breaks a bone after falling.
However, nursing home staff members can cause injury by neglecting a resident’s needs or intentionally assaulting them. Staff may also be to blame if the victim was harmed by another nursing home resident with violent tendencies.
Get more information about the causes of nursing home injuries below.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can cause physical injuries if staff members punch, kick, or otherwise assault an elderly resident.
A notable case of elder abuse in a nursing home occurred in 2015, when a 90-year-old resident suffered bruising and weight loss. The assisted living facility claimed his injuries were from falls, but a hidden camera revealed he had been hit, thrown around, and yelled at by the staff.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is not a simple mistake or accident — it is long-term failure to address a resident’s health and wellbeing, leading to serious injuries or a wrongful death.
In 2015, a 93-year-old woman died because nursing home staff members failed to treat her for scabies, an infestation where mites burrowed into her skin and ate her alive. An investigation claimed that her scabies went untreated for months, or possibly years, on end.
Types of Nursing Home Injuries
Nursing home injuries can vary greatly depending on several factors, including residents’ health care needs and how they are treated by staff members.
Common nursing home injuries include:
Preventing Nursing Home Injuries
While nursing homes should have protocols in place to protect residents, it may not be enough to keep every senior safe. In these cases, family members can take action to ensure their loved one does not continue suffering from nursing home injuries.
Ways to prevent nursing home injuries include:
- Choosing a nursing home that has a good track record for safety and professionalism
- Making sure the resident has the proper equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker, if needed
- Noting any signs of nursing home abuse and reporting them
- Regularly visiting a nursing home resident to make sure their health needs are being met
- Updating staff as the elderly resident’s health care needs change over time
It’s important to remember that staff members also had a duty to prevent nursing home injuries. If they failed to do so, you may be able to hold them accountable through legal action.
Nursing Home Injury Laws
State and federal laws have been enacted to keep nursing home residents safe from injuries, abuse, and neglect.
For example, a state law in Minnesota requires nursing homes to employ a certain number of qualified caregivers. This includes licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and certified nursing assistants. In some states, other laws allow residents to use hidden cameras in nursing homes.
If you believe a nursing home has violated state or federal law — and your loved one was harmed as a result — contact your local authorities, such as the police or Adult Protective Services (APS), right away.
Sometimes, legal help from nursing home injury lawyers is also needed to navigate these laws.
Nursing Home Injury Lawyers
By working with a personal injury lawyer, families pursue financial compensation for a nursing home injury.
While a family may have budgeted for the costs of a nursing home, they may not be able to account for the medical expenses required to treat an unexpected, or preventable, injury — especially one that stemmed from nursing home abuse.
To that end, nursing home injury lawyers can help families afford the costs of medical care and/or funeral expenses by filing lawsuits against those who caused the harm.
When Injuries Are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
While some nursing home injuries do happen accidentally, repeated mistakes or serious harm could be signs of abuse or neglect.
If your loved one has been injured, ensure they receive medical attention immediately. If you believe that their injuries were sustained due to abuse or neglect, contact local law enforcement and a nursing home abuse lawyer.
To see if you can take legal action after a nursing home injury, get a free case review from our team today. We can help you learn more about filing a personal injury claim with a trusted law firm.