Most nursing home residents have mental or physical weaknesses, so staff members must take additional precautions to help them avoid the most common bone fractures in nursing homes.
One of the most dangerous situations a nursing home resident faces is falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 300,000 elderly Americans suffer hip fractures annually, often the result of a fall.
Falls can also lead to fractures of the wrists, arms, or other bones. Nursing home employees must take a variety of precautions to try to prevent falls due to the severity of broken bone injuries.
Most Common Bone Fractures
In nursing homes, bone fractures usually involve:
Broken hips are one of the most serious injuries for an elderly resident. Hip fractures reduce the quality of life, including the level of mobility. At least 33 percent of those who suffered a hip fracture may never regain the mobility they enjoyed before the injury.
A person may need to undergo hip replacement surgery after a hip fracture. Surgery may lead to further problems, either from infection or damage to nerves and blood vessels if they do not heal properly.
Treatment for Fractures
When a resident suffers one of the most common bone fractures in nursing homes, medical personnel may recommend a variety of treatments, including:
- Surgery to reset the bone.
- Insertion of pins or screws to hold the bone in place.
- Hip replacement surgery.
Some residents may require placement in traction while the bones heal. Other residents may need to use adaptive equipment to aid the healing process or practice physical therapy to regain mobility.
Most Vulnerable Residents
Some nursing home residents are more vulnerable to falls and broken bones than others. Nursing home staff must document these patients and take the appropriate steps to protect them. Residents at an increased risk of fractures may include:
- Female residents, who naturally have a higher risk of bone fractures.
- Previously injured residents, as risks increase after another broken bone.
- Residents with multiple health conditions, such as vertigo, fainting, dementia, or other illnesses that increase the risk of falling.
- Residents with osteoporosis, which causes a higher risk of fracturing.
Such residents depend on the nursing home staff to prevent injuries as their risks increase.
Potential Causes of Fractures
Sometimes, negligence or outright abuse can cause a broken bone or fracture. Other times, the injury results from a complete accident. Employees of the nursing home may actively create a situation that increases the chances of a fall or fracture. Or, the employees may cause a dangerous situation through inaction. Negligence may legally apply in either of these situations.
Cases of Negligence or Abuse
Instances in which a nursing home employee’s negligence or abuse causes a broken bone injury for the resident include:
- Striking a resident.
- Failing to help a resident walk to the bathroom or elsewhere.
- Failing to help the resident bathe.
- Failing to secure equipment properly.
- Failing to give residents slip-resistant clothing, like no-slip socks.
- Failing to update care plans after a resident becomes a fall risk.
- Delivering incorrect medication that leads to a health issue and a fall.
- Moving a resident into a bed or a wheelchair without following protocol.
- Leaving objects in the area that present a tripping hazard.
Incidents other than those listed may lead to a fall that results in a bone fracture. Legal representation will help identify if the nursing home is liable for a broken bone or fracture.
Holding the Nursing Home Responsible
If a nursing home caused a situation that led to a bone fracture for a resident, you may have a case. If you suspect negligence or abuse led to the accident at your loved one’s nursing home, we suggest you reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call us today at (800) 201-3999 to discuss the facts surrounding your loved one’s broken or fractured bone.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so we will not accept payment unless we secure financial awards in your favor.