Nursing home injuries are becoming a growing concern across the country. Whether these injuries are due to neglect or even abuse, the numbers will only continue to rise as more individuals enter nursing homes and the staff become overwhelmed at the sheer volume of clients that they must monitor. The most common injury seen in nursing homes is falls. While not all falls are preventable, a large majority of those falls could be prevented by proper monitoring. Also, a nursing home could use training and safety systems to minimize the risk of injury to its clients.
How Serious are Nursing Home Injuries?
These injuries are becoming a big issue in the state. Those living in nursing homes become injured at a rate much higher than the general elderly population – including those cared for at home. This is because nursing home populations consist of older individuals, and those who are ill or in failing health. Also, they are physically weakened and frail, which means that they cannot function on their own.
Just some facts to consider about nursing home injuries include:
- Every year, 25 percent of nursing homes are cited for causing a serious injury or death.
- At least 5,000 deaths happen each year in nursing homes due to negligence and injuries.
- It is estimated that 10 percent of residents will suffer from bedsores.
- Nursing home residents fall twice at the rate of the general elderly population.
Why Do These Injuries Occur?
These injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, but to prevent them from occurring in the future, it is important for individuals to be aware of what causes them. About one-fourth of these injuries are due to muscle weaknesses and walking issues. Other reasons why there are injuries in nursing homes include:
- Residents are more likely to be medicated (possibly overmedicated), which hinders their ability to balance properly.
- Patients may be taking sedatives or antipsychotic medications, which alter their motor functions.
- Physical hazards could also cause an accident, such as wet floors, narrow stairwells, etc.
- Poor lighting in rooms or hallways could lead to falls.
- Inattention and neglect of the medical staff within the facility. Without adequate staffing, nursing homes cannot monitor their patients or prevent injuries.
Can Nursing Home Injuries Be Reduced?
Yes, nursing home injuries could easily be reduced. When the staff is diligent about preventing hazards on site, they are already doing their part to reduce the likelihood that a loved one will suffer from an injury. Just some things that nursing homes could do to be more proactive include:
- Conducting individual assessments of each patient and include the likelihood that they will become injured.
- Use consistent education for staff to create better prevention techniques.
- Remove any hazards.
- Boost the facility’s safety.
- Do system checks to ensure that patients are not over-medicated.
- Minimize the use of medications that may lead to injury, and closely monitor patients who must take these medications.
- Always reassess the safety of residents and do so often.
- Closely monitor the health and mental health of patients to see if their physical abilities have changed.
- Ensure that patients are readjusted to prevent bedsores from developing.
What if a Loved One is Injured?
If a loved one is injured in a nursing home facility, you do have options. First, you will want to report that facility to the state health board. Second, you will want to contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home injuries. Even if the injury was not due to abuse, neglect gives you the right to seek compensation against that facility or the employee responsible. The team at Malman Law want to help you ensure that your loved one is safe and hold those responsible for any injuries your loved one has suffered. Contact us today for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form with your questions.