Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from injuries. Elderly individuals and their families trust staff members at these homes to keep them safe. When staff members betray this trust through nursing home abuse and neglect, accidents and serious injuries can result. The most common incidents that result in injuries in nursing homes are slip and fall accidents. These falls can cause anything from bruises to broken bones to serious traumatic brain injuries.
If your loved one was injured due to a fall while under medical care, you should take action immediately. Our Maryland nursing home abuse lawyers can help you investigate the situation to determine if elder abuse or neglect caused the injuries. If so, we will fight to hold the nursing home staff accountable for its negligence.
Slip and Fall Accidents Caused by Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Negligence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nursing home injuries and accidents are significant problems. Their data concerning nursing home falls include these facts:
- Up to 75 percent of nursing home residents suffer a fall every year
- Nursing home residents average 2.6 falls per person each year
- 10 to 20 percent of falls in nursing homes cause serious injuries
- Approximately 1,800 fatal slip and fall accidents occur in U.S. nursing homes each year
- Hazards like wet floors negligently maintained wheelchairs and insufficient lighting cause up to 27 percent of falls in nursing homes
- Approximately 5 percent of seniors live in nursing homes, but 20 percent of fatal slip and fall accidents happen to seniors in eldercare facilities
Nursing home staff is responsible for keeping the care facility safe and being attentive to residents. In addition, there are certain medications that may increase the risk of falling, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety medications. Patients who are given such medications must be properly supervised and assisted at all times. Understaffed nursing homes may also lack a sufficient number of people needed to monitor residents and prevent falls from occurring.
What are the Dangers of Falls in Nursing Homes?
Even a small slip and fall accident can cause serious injuries to an elderly person in a nursing home. Seniors have weaker bones and muscles and are less able than younger people to catch themselves if they fall. This can cause head trauma and brain injury, painful broken bones, or even death. The most common personal injuries associated with slip and fall accidents in nursing homes include:
- Hip fractures – These fractures are common, and necessary treatment may include hip replacement surgery.
- Other fractures and sprains – Many people break arm or wrist bones while trying to cushion their fall. Sprains to the ankles and knees are also common.
- Cuts, bruises and torn muscles – Though these injures may seem less serious than others, they can still be very painful. Depending on their location, these wounds can keep seniors from walking or moving freely.
- Dislocated shoulder – These injuries usually occur when a person falls at an angle or cannot move an arm quickly enough to break the fall.
- Spine injuries – A serious spine injury can result if a nursing home resident falls backward or rolls out of bed. Possible effects include paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia.
- Brain injuries – Seniors are less likely to be able to break their falls if they fall forward. The result is often trauma to the head, which could cause a concussion or severe traumatic brain injury.
When a nursing home is understaffed or managed negligently, residents might not get the attention and help they need. The danger of slip and fall accidents is especially serious for elders who struggle with balance or memory, and those who need assistance walking. Without proper attention and support, nursing home residents who use wheelchairs can easily suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse or Nursing Home Neglect?
The responsibility of reporting a nursing home injury or elder abuse often falls to the victim’s family members. If you notice that your loved one has been injured while under the care of nursing home staff, you should speak to the director of staff and consider moving your relative to a different facility as soon as possible. Then, contact a team of experienced nursing home neglect lawyers.
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse and/or neglect, do not wait to get the help he or she needs. Contact an elder abuse and personal injury attorney from Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, and Depaolis, L.L.P today. We can help you decide if taking legal action against a nursing home can provide the compensation your family member deserves after falling due to elder abuse or negligence. Fill out an online review form or call one of our offices in Maryland to schedule a free consultation.