It can be a painful decision for families to place their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, this may be the only option in many situations, particularly when family members are no longer able to provide the appropriate level of care and attention. More and more seniors are being placed in long-term care facilities across the country. As a result, some nursing homes are unable to maintain adequate training and staffing. This is when neglect occurs: Over-worked staff dealing with more and more residents. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect can result in all types of physical injuries, including internal injuries.
Falls at Nursing Homes are a Common Cause of Internal Injuries
Internal injuries are often the result of bad falls. Physical injuries from nursing home falls represent a large portion of the cases that we handle at Schenk Smith. Residents of long-term care facilities, and seniors in general, are more susceptible to falls. Often, our elder population suffers from mobility and coordination issues, and in some cases, mental incapacity. These characteristics, and simply being of an advanced age, add to the increased likelihood of injury. Still, falls are not just the result of a resident being allowed to walk without assistance. Other types of falls are common. For example, transitioning to and from bathroom facilities, like the toilet or the bath. The elderly are more likely to suffer grave injuries from falls than the young. This makes falls a serious health issue for nursing home and assisted living facility staff.
Long-term care facilities in Georgia may be held accountable for falls. All nursing homes and assisted living facilities must take certain precautions to prevent the falls of their residents. This includes assessing the fall risk of each and every resident. So, some residents will need more or less attention, depending on the result of the assessment. For example, some residents will need a lowered bed with locked brakes, or floor mats surrounding the bed. Some residents, like those suffering from mental incapacity, may require other safety items. When a nursing home does not take these steps, they can be liable in a civil action.
Intentional Conduct by Nursing Home Staff May Cause Internal Injuries
Even where the initial fall does not cause serious injury, failure to properly care of the patient afterwards can make the matter worse. For example, failing to link diminished capacity, lethargy, or the inability to communicate with internal injuries from head trauma can have grave consequences. In a recent case, our client exhibited obvious signs of internal injuries. Despite this, and despite the fact that the resident was prescribed blood thinner, the nursing home did not take the resident to the hospital in a timely fashion. The resident slowly bled internally and passed away from a subdural hematoma. In short, even though a resident falls, the conduct of the nursing home after the fact may result in a graver injury. When a nursing home does not properly recognize and assess the extent of an injury, they can be held liable for the resulting complications.
Internal injuries can also be a result of purposeful, wrongful conduct by staff. Inadequately trained nursing home staff, charged with servicing more and more residents, sometimes leads to injury. In order to get all the things done during their shift, staff may get inappropriately physical with residents. This includes improper restraints and isolation. Still, in other situations, particularly when residents are non-cooperative, the staff may hit residents out of frustration or to deter the bad behavior. Either way, there is absolutely no excuse for such action. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as the guilty staff, may be held liable for injuries resulting from physical abuse and neglect.