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Broken Bones in Nursing Homes

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Nursing Home Broken Bones Attorney

Nursing home residents fall frequently, and some fall repeatedly. Some incur head injuries or hip fractures that can result in a lower quality of life due to permanent disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1,800 adult nursing home residents die in any given year from falls. Many falls are not reported.

Of course, accidents happen, but frequently, broken bones resulting from falls are indicators that the standard of care in the nursing home is less than adequate. If someone you love has fallen in a nursing home, and broken bones, an attorney can help.

Why Do Nursing Home Residents Break Bones?

Most broken bones are caused by falls. Less frequently, they may be caused by disputes with other residents. The following factors can contribute to broken bones:

Staffing

The problem often lies with poor staffing, or understaffing. When there aren’t enough employees to adequately monitor the patients, or staff isn’t properly trained, circumstances can arise that result in seniors breaking bones.

When nursing homes attempt to cut corners by understaffing, or hiring personnel whose qualifications are inadequate for the position, there are no good outcomes. When a patient suffers injuries in the nursing home due to broken bones, an attorney can advise as to whether a lawsuit is likely to succeed.

Physical Plant Issues

These are hazards within the nursing home that can result in the resident slipping or falling. They include improper bed heights, poorly maintained wheelchairs, wet floors, inadequate lighting, or maintenance equipment left where it should not be. In a nursing home, broken bones can be serious, and an attorney may be needed to help the injured party or family to recover the damages they deserve.

Malnutrition

Nursing home residents who are not getting the nutrition they require can become weak and uncoordinated, and more prone to bone-breaking falls. Poor nutrition can be due to depression (the senior simply does not feel like eating), complications from medications, or neglect on the part of the nursing home.

Over-Medication

When seniors are over medicated, or when their medications conflict with one another, they can become uncoordinated, lose their balance, and very easily fall and break bones. A nursing home that is providing proper care will not over medicate a resident, and will exercise due diligence to make sure that medications are not conflicting. If the patient who has been improperly medicated has broken bones, an attorney can assist with the complexities of a lawsuit on behalf of over-medicated seniors or their families.

Abuse

Some nursing homes use restraints in order to prevent falls. However, when a resident’s freedom of movement is restricted, falls can actually become more likely. Additionally, many experts believe that restraints are inherently degrading and abusive, and advocate other methods of preventing injuries. These methods include:

  • Lowering bed heights
  • Removing clutter
  • Walking and physical conditioning programs
  • Repairing or replacing substandard equipment
  • Making sure shoes fit properly

Most importantly, having adequate staff in place can greatly reduce, if not outright eliminate, the need for restraints. If restraints aren’t in use, there’s no need to debate whether or not they’re abusive.

What is indisputably abusive is a beating perpetrated upon a resident by nursing home staff. Unfortunately, it does happen, and when it does, broken bones can be a result. Seniors in nursing homes are often too embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone if they are being physically abused, so if you have a loved one in a nursing home who has suffered broken bones, it is incumbent upon you to investigate the circumstances.

If your loved one has suffered broken bones due to abuse, neglect, or negligence in their nursing home, a broken bones attorney can help you to investigate the circumstances and determine if you have a basis for a lawsuit. Falls and broken bones should not happen in a properly operated nursing home, and if fault can be attributed to the nursing home, your senior may be entitled to damages.

 

Sources:

http://www.myelderadvocate.com/blog/post/broken-bones-broken-lives-falls-in-nursing-homes

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/common-kinds-nursing-home-abuse.html

 

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