When people put their loved ones in nursing homes, they assume they will be treated with respect and given the care they need. However, this is not always the case. Nursing home residents are not always given proper care. Staff members are not always well-trained, which means residents are often neglected or even abused.
When staff members do not tend to their patients’ needs, serious injuries can occur. Here is a look at some of the more common ones.
Slips and Falls
People tend to lose balance as they get older. This is actually one of the main reasons why people put their elderly parents in nursing homes. However, slips and falls do happen at nursing homes as well. In fact, they are common. Although nursing homes have handrails and non-skid flooring, accidents can still happen, especially when the nursing home staff is not paying attention.
Falls can lead to spinal injuries. A nursing home resident who suffers a terrible fall can damage their spinal cord, which can cause mobility issues and paralysis. Depending on the degree of the spinal cord injury, a patient can suffer from limb paralysis, bowel incontinence, or breathing difficulties. The higher the injury, the more body parts will be affected.
Nursing home residents are often physically disabled, spending long periods lying down on their backs in their beds. This can cause them to suffer from skin damage. This can lead to bedsores, which can cause infections and even necrosis. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.
Bed Rail Injuries
Because the elderly are prone to falls, nursing homes often use bed rails to keep them from falling out of bed. However, these bed rails can sometimes do more harm than good. They may malfunction and put a person in danger. A bed rail malfunction can cause injuries such as suffocation, breathing problems, or even cardiac arrest. Nursing home staff should monitor and assist patients when they need to get out of bed.
Slips and falls can cause elderly people to suffer from concussions. A concussion is a mild blow to the head, and while it is not typically life-threatening, it can cause symptoms such as headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, and vomiting. These issues can be troubling to someone who is already immobile or disabled.
Bones weaken with age, which means that the elderly have an increased risk of developing fractures, particularly to the hip and neck. These fractures often require surgery. Many elderly people develop complications, including abnormalities in cardiac and pulmonary functions.
The elderly have a weak immune system, and diseases are more likely to spread in nursing homes due to the confined space. Common ailments include pneumonia, the flu, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Those with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cardiovascular disease could face complications.
Preventing Nursing Home Injuries
As the loved one of a nursing home resident, you can do your part to protect your family member by checking on them regularly and communicating with them as much as possible. Asking them questions about the nursing home environment and their feelings about staffing can help determine if there is any neglect or abuse going on. Family involvement can help identify and address potential safety issues.
Nursing homes are the ones that need to make changes to their protocols and staffing. They can implement the following measures to prevent nursing home injuries:
Staff training. Nursing homes should provide comprehensive training to staff members on proper techniques for transferring residents, preventing falls, recognizing signs of distress, and avoiding potential hazards. They should regularly update staff on safety protocols and best practices.
Adequate staffing. This is one of the biggest issues in nursing homes. Nursing homes need to maintain an adequate staff-to-resident ratio to ensure that residents receive prompt assistance and supervision. When staff members are overwhelmed, they may have difficulty addressing safety concerns, increasing the risk of injuries.
Fall prevention. Falls are one of the top causes of injuries in nursing homes. There need to be fall prevention measures in place, such as installing handrails in hallways and bathrooms, ensuring proper lighting, removing tripping hazards, using non-slip flooring, and providing residents with appropriate walking aids if needed.
Regular assessments. Nursing homes should conduct regular assessments of residents to determine their risk of falls and other injuries. They need to assess their mobility, balance, and cognitive abilities and create individualized care plans and interventions to address specific needs.
Regular environmental checks. Nursing homes should conduct routine checks of the nursing home environment to identify and address potential hazards. This includes checking for loose handrails, damaged flooring, and faulty equipment.
Medication management. Nursing homes should properly manage and monitor medications to prevent adverse effects, drug interactions, and confusion among residents. Staff members should be educated about the potential side effects of medications that may increase the risk of falls or other injuries.
Regular exercise and physical therapy. Residents should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise and physical therapy programs to improve strength, balance, and mobility. These activities can help reduce the risk of falls and maintain overall physical health.
Continuous quality improvement. Instead of ignoring issues, nursing homes need to establish a culture of continuous quality improvement. This includes regularly reviewing incident reports, conducting safety audits, and involving staff in identifying areas for improvement.
Contact Newman Law Group Today
It is becoming more common for nursing home residents to suffer injuries. In some cases, this is due to their age and condition. In many cases, though, the staff members are intentionally inflicting these injuries on residents, causing serious or even fatal injuries.
If your loved one has been affected, the skilled attorneys at Newman Law Group, LLP can help bring about accountability and justice. We will also assist you in getting fully compensated for all your damages. To schedule a consultation with our office, call (916) 932-0397.