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Nursing Home Injuries

Learn About Nursing Home Abuse Injuries

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Bruises, lacerations, and broken bones — after less than one month in a nursing home, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s was leaving in an ambulance. Nursing home injuries remain an all too common issue, and some may be a sign of abuse. Thankfully, your family may be able to take legal action if a loved one was injured in a nursing home.

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
  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Falls
  • Infections
  • 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.

Suffered abuse or neglect? Hold the nursing home accountable immediately. Call (855) 264-6310.

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:

Nursing homes often use bedrails to keep residents from falling out of bed. That said, bedrails can put residents in great danger.

For example, residents can get stuck between the mattress and the bedrail, which can lead to breathing problems, suffocation, or cardiac arrest. A resident also may climb over the bedrail and fall.

Learn More About Bedrail Injuries

Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores may occur when a resident lies in the same spot for a long period of time, causing skin damage, necrosis (death of skin tissue), and infections.

Bedsores can be a life-threatening problem for residents if staff members allow the sores to go untreated. Sadly, 2% to 28% of nursing home residents suffer from bedsores, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Learn More About Bedsores

As residents age, their bones become weaker, putting them at risk for dangerous hip and neck fractures.

The CDC found that over 300,000 seniors go to the hospital each year due to broken hips. CNN found that 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 who suffer a hip fracture die within a year. Further, a broken neck can damage normal heart, lung, and breathing functions.

Learn More About Broken Bones

A concussion is a head injury caused by trauma to the brain. While concussions are not usually life-threatening, they may cause long-term health problems. Older people also take longer to recover from them, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

Concussions are often sustained after falls. An elderly patient fell 11 times in two months at a Georgia nursing home. The resident suffered a concussion along with broken bones and later died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Learn More About Concussions

According to the CDC, 1-3 million infections occur every year at long-term care facilities. These infections kill up to 400,000 residents a year. Common nursing home infections include COVID-19, influenza, and pneumonia.

When nursing home staff members fail to prevent infections, they may be found responsible if it leads to other health problems or death.

Learn More About Infections

According to Lee Memorial Health System, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among those over the age of 65. Falls can lead to broken bones, concussions, or spinal injuries.

One Texas nursing home resident fell multiple times, including into a large mud hole after he wandered out of the facility without supervision. He later died from his injuries.

Learn More About Falls and Fractures

Spinal cord damage prevents signals from the brain from reaching other parts of the body. Health issues linked to spinal cord injuries include difficulty breathing, loss of bowel control, and paralysis.

Spinal cord injuries vary depending on what part of the spine gets damaged. Since the brain sends signals down the spinal column, more body parts may be affected if the injury occurs higher up on the spine.

Learn More About Spinal Injuries

Have you or your loved one suffered from these types of injuries? Contact us today by calling (855) 264-6310.

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.

legal team looking at laptop

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.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

View 13 Sources
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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 22). Nursing Homes and Assisted Living (Long-term Care Facilities [LTCFs]). Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/index.html.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 12). What Is a Concussion? Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html.
  4. Greene, M., & Rivers, B. (2019, November 1). 7 Investigates: Nursing home fined for deficiencies creating 'immediate jeopardy' for residents. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.kltv.com/2019/11/01/investigates-nursing-home-fined-deficiencies-creating-immediate-jeopardy-residents/.
  5. Lee Memorial Health System. (2011, August 25). Preventing Falls in the Elderly. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wQs6opWT8Y.
  6. Pierotti, A. (2018, April 25). 'Eaten Alive': Woman known for beauty suffers horrific death at nursing home. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.11alive.com/article/news/investigations/eaten-alive-woman-known-for-beauty-suffers-horrific-death-at-nursing-home/85-545635219.
  7. Schrade, B., & Teegardin, C. (2019, October 14). Suffering behind the facade. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional/suffering-behind-the-facade/gEMTySxJUMEQ6GhD1OQiFO/#.
  8. Shepherd Center. (n.d.). Spinal Cord Injury Information. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/spinal-cord-injury/about.
  9. Spinelli, C. (2019, October 25). Sterling nursing home fined $25k after patient falls, dies days later. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.kwqc.com/content/news/Sterling-nursing-home-fined-25k-after-patient-falls-dies-days-later-563870091.html
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, September 20). Hip fractures among older adults. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adulthipfx.html
  11. Brain Injury Association of America. (2020, August 04). How long will it take me to recover from a concussion? Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.biausa.org/brain-injury/about-brain-injury/nbiic/how-long-will-it-take-me-to-recover-from-a-concussion
  12. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, July 09). Safety concerns about bed rails. Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/bed-rail-safety/safety-concerns-about-bed-rails
  13. Brennan-Olsen, S. (2019, May 13). Hip fractures are deadly for many seniors. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/13/health/hip-fracture-death-partner
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