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:

Broken Arms

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 osteoporosis conditions.
  • 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 fractured elbows.
  • Falls from beds, bathing areas, or mobility devices.
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents caused by hazardous conditions on nursing home grounds.

Broken Femurs

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.

Broken Hips

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 consciousness.

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.

Broken Legs

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 mortality.

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.

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