9 Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries

Caretaker arguing with elderly woman

Are you thinking about a nursing home for your relative? On the surface, the facility in question may seem like a lovely place. Sadly, nursing home injuries are more common in the United States than many realize, and your family member faces a higher likelihood of death due to abuse or neglect. In some cases, the elderly don’t report the neglect/abuse because they fear staff members will retaliate. If you suspect nursing home abuse injuries, contact a nursing home injury attorney immediately. 

This article will highlight some common injuries in nursing homes. Read on to know the dangers. 

9. Bed Rail Injuries

This type of injury is common, and it’s one of the most underreported problems in the nursing home community. An injury can occur when a resident falls between the railing and the mattress.

In some cases, they cannot get free because they’re under heavy sedation. They may also lack the strength to free themselves. Additionally, their body weight causes them to sink further into the crevice between the rail and the mattress. Bedrail injuries can manifest in the following forms:

  • Bruising: The railing can cause bruising as patients are wedged in the space for an extended period.
  • Asphyxiation: The pressure from the mattress and railing can cause breathing issues.
  • Cardiac arrest: Chest compression can lead to heart failure. 

8. Infections

Group settings can foster various infections, and nursing homes are no different. Moreover, close contact can cause viruses and bacteria to spread faster. 

If the facility has poor sanitation practices, your loved one can fall prey to illnesses. Since many elderly people have ongoing health complications, even a minor cold can lead to serious problems like pneumonia. Other common infections include: 

  • Skin infections
  • Influenza
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections

The nursing home could be liable if the staff failed to sanitize the premises properly.

7. Falls

Falls constitute the leading cause of death for people over 65, and can also lead to spinal cord injuries. Broken bones and fractures are also common, especially hip injuries.

Nursing staff must watch residents carefully to prevent falls. Management should also minimize hazards that can cause falls.

  • Example: Management should hire a handyman or janitor to fill in mud holes. Mud holes could cause someone to trip and fall. 

Many staff are inattentive and cannot pinpoint hazards that lead to falls. Additionally, employees may contend with fewer resources. An understaffed and/or underfunded facility results in minimal upkeep. Rundown facilities contain additional hazards that can spark accidents.

Further, the staff may have inadequate protocols that fail to address falling incidents adequately. Without immediate medical attention, the situation may grow worse. 

6. Bedsores

Bedsores may seem like a minor issue, but they can lead to skin infections and necrosis. Necrosis causes skin decay. 

Sores can occur when a patient lies in bed for a long time. Bedsores come in four stages: 

  • Stage One: The patient may have red spots and minor bruising
  • Stage Two: Someone could suffer from blisters and open sores
  • Stage Three: Wounds are deep and mimic the appearance of a crater
  • Stage Four: The skin turns brown or black, and the tissue begins to decay

Nursing staff must check on bedridden patients frequently. They must also apply treatments or ensure they get out of bed. Leaving a resident in bed for long periods amounts to neglect. 

5. Malnutrition

Many elderly residents rely on staff members to feed them daily. Some patients require more accommodations than others. Perhaps they need routine tube feedings. Neglect can occur when personnel fail to feed residents.

The facility may be understaffed, therefore lacking the manpower to bring food to residents. An absent-minded nurse may also forget to feed a resident. Seniors need proper nutrition to keep infections at bay.

4. Burns

Burns can happen if a patient consumes hot foods or drinks prematurely. They may also run hot water in a tub and burn themselves.

In other cases, some nursing facilities have designated smoking areas. Seniors can burn themselves when lighting a cigarette, or the cigarette can burn their skin.

All of these factors can happen when nursing staff members fail to monitor residents regularly. Your loved one could sustain serious burns that may cause an infection. 

3. Choking

Personnel must make sure that residents chew their food carefully. If not, seniors can choke on their food. Obstruction of the airways can result in death.

Further, poorly-trained staff may not know what to do if a resident begins choking. Choking incidents indicate nursing home neglect. It may also indicate abuse.

With that, choking can occur despite the best protocols in place. However, choking qualifies as neglect if the staff failed to adhere to basic response measures.

2. Concussions

Concussions usually occur during a fall. It occurs when the brain bounces within the skull. If a senior falls, the staff should send them to a doctor immediately.

The resident could have an underlying concussion. If left untreated, concussions may cause the following:

  • Vision problems
  • Disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration issues
  • Fatigue

Concussions can last for weeks or months. Doctors must also check for bleeding within the brain, which can lead to death. 

1. Broken Bones

Broken bones often occur after the elderly fall. Their bones weaken as they age. In particular, seniors can suffer from neck or hip fractures after falling. When it comes to hip fractures, 1 in 3 adults over 50 can die within a year. 

How to Detect Nursing Home Injuries

To detect nursing home injuries early, check on your loved ones regularly. Ask them about the quality of care. Additionally, ask questions when staff members aren’t around. 

Older people in nursing homes are vulnerable to hazards in the form of infections, falls, and malnutrition. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, a nursing home injury lawyer can help you obtain justice.  

Is your family member the victim of negligence or abuse? Contact Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today to learn how a lawyer can help you. 

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