Sadly, more and more families are seeking out nursing homes and assisted living facilities for aging seniors. The main reason? Our elderly population’s needs grow beyond the capacity of the families’ ability to provide care. With the escalating number of residents in long-term care facilities, nursing home staff find themselves unable to provide adequate care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, already struggling to maintain well-trained staff, have a growing problem with fewer staff to deal with growing bed-counts. This is a powder keg for potential neglect. Nursing home neglect comes in all forms, and can result in all types of physical injuries, including broken and fractured bones.
Broken and Fractured Bones at Nursing Homes
Broken and fractured bones are often a result of a bad spill or fall. Indeed, many of the cases handled here at Schenk Smith involve injuries resulting from falls. Sadly, the elderly population is statistically more likely to be injured due to falls than any other group. This is because many seniors, and particularly nursing home residents, suffer from coordination problems, mobility issues, and in some cases, a lack of mental capacity. With so many risk factors, falls can be a likely occurrence. Despite what many think, falls don’t just happen because the nursing home resident is attempting to walk without assistance. There are many other scenarios in which falls can occur. Some are even in the presence of staff. For example, many falls happen when the resident is transitioning to and from the bed or the bath, or getting up from sitting. are not simply a result of the nursing home resident attempting to walk without assistance. Due to advanced age, seniors are more likely be gravely injured as a result of falls. Thus, falls need to be at the top of all safety issues for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Nursing Homes May Be Liable for Broken and Fractured Bone Injuries
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be held responsible for the injuries resulting from falls. Federal and State law obligate long-term care facilities to assess the fall risk of residents, and to take the proper precautions to minimize the risk presented by falls. For example, staff may make the rounds more often in rooms of residents more prone to falls, or to make sure that there are pressure sensors in place to alert staff of movement. When a nursing home fails to take these steps, they can be held responsible for the damages caused.
Sometimes, the nursing home fails to properly assess an injury after a fall. For example, failing to recognize the symptoms of a fractured or broken collar bone. Failure to properly assess an injury may cause a greater problem than the fall itself. When a nursing home fails to properly assess the extent of injuries after a fall, they can be held liable for the resulting complications.
Wrongful Conduct by Nursing Home Staff May Cause Broken Bones
Broken and fractured bones can also be a result of intentionally abusive conduct of nursing home staff. Poor treatment is a direct result of untrained staff attending to residents in a hectic environment. To get residents more quickly changed, cleaned, fed, or moved, staff may get inappropriately physical. This includes improper holds, physical restraints, or confinement. In many cases, if residents are non-cooperative or lack the capacity to make transitions smoother, nursing home staff have been known to punch or hit residents. This is done either in frustration or to deter uncooperative behavior. Still, there is no justification for this type of conduct. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as the guilty staff, may be held responsible for injuries resulting from physical abuse and neglect.