Broken Bones in Nursing Homes
Corpus Christi Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
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 (CDC), approximately 1,800 adult nursing home residents die in
any given year from falls. Many falls are not reported.
Accidents do happen, but broken bones resulting from falls may be 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.
Contact the Corpus Christi nursing home abuse attorneys at t Bandas Law Firm to
see how we can assist you. Your consultation is free!
Preventing Falls & Broken Bones in Nursing Homes
Some nursing homes use restraints in order to prevent falls. However, when
a resident’s freedom of movement is restricted, falls can 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 they’re abusive.
Breaks & Fractures Caused by Elder Abuse
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.
Types of Broken Bones at Nursing Homes & Elder Care Centers
The bones most frequently fractured and broken at nursing homes are the
arms, femurs, hips, and legs. Here, we have included some insight regarding
each of these:
If placed in the context of nursing homes, residents may endure arm fractures
due to the following:
- Self-injury, typically by accident or overextension, which can cause minor
fractures in certain patients with significant bone density loss or certain
- Rough transfers to wheelchairs or other mobility equipment, causing fractures
in the resident’s arm.
- Accidental strikes of the elbow to the wall or passing wheelchairs, causing
- Falls from beds, bathing areas, or mobility devices.
- Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents caused by hazardous conditions
on nursing home grounds.
The human femur, commonly known as the thighbone, is an elongated bone
extending from the hip to the patient’s kneecap, with an extensive
number of nerves running alongside the femur involved in sub-spinal motor
coordination. In instances of a broken femur, the placement of the fracture
along the femur of the patient will dictate a number of medical factors
to consider, with most but not all fractures occurring nearer to the patient’s
hip, especially in elderly patients.
The seriousness of a femur fracture regarding potential lethality in the
elderly should not be underestimated, as femur fractures result in 1-year
mortality rates as high as pelvis fractures in the elderly, or as high
of a death rate of 30% of patients within the first year.
Statically, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) noted
that patients residing in nursing homes are at an increased risk for broken
hips. Moreover, from this age cohort residing in nursing homes experiencing
broken hips, the mortality rate is as high as 30% in the first 12 months.
Generally, the causes of broken hips in nursing homes may include:
- Changes in prescription drugs, or mismanagement of medications by staff
members, causing balance difficulties that lead to falls.
- Unsafe patient bathing practices, as well as improper movement of patients
by staff members.
- Premises liability issues, including slippery walkways, failures to account
for disabled individuals needs in inclement weather, or permitting hazards
to impeded resident walkways.
- Other slips and falls caused by poor lighting, improperly designed, assembled,
or maintained mobility equipment, and medical issues causing a loss of
Above all, the largest cause of pelvic fractures almost certainly involves
some degree of staff negligence, or a failure to account for the known
and reasonably predictable risks of falls causing injury at a facility,
while preventing patients from harming themselves per the duty of care
owed to the residents by nursing home employees.
While medically less severe than the estimated 250,000 hip fractures annually
in elderly patient populations, leg fractures are more prevalent numerically
than pelvis breaks, and in turn, can cause similar complications comparable
to the fiscal and medical damages seen in pelvic fracture incidents, including
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Our Corpus Christi Offices
Any fracture injury occurring at a nursing home should be investigated
by the facility itself, and by concerned family members potentially with
the help of legal counsel, to determine specifically the pattern of events
and causes of action leading to the accident and resulting injury.
For experienced help from compassionate legal professionals, call Bandas
Law Firm at (361) 238-2789 and arrange your free consultation. We serve
Nueces County and all of Texas from our Corpus Christi law office.