When we place our loved ones in nursing homes, there is an expectation that they will be kept safe and unharmed. In reality, however, nursing homes are not always as safe as we hope. The Centers for Disease Control reports that each year, more than 3 million older individuals receive emergency care treatment, with broken bones being one of the most commonly encountered injuries.
If your loved one experienced a broken leg or broken hip while living in a nursing home, it might be a sign of abuse or mistreatment. While a fall or broken bone is not always preventable, there are many instances where we can examine records to determine whether the proper precautions were taken.
Administrative Neglect Can Cause Broken Bones
Falls can be due to neglect or failure by workers at the nursing home to properly supervise your loved one. When a nursing home accepts a resident, it must conduct an extensive fall risk assessment which take into consideration factors such as:
- Mental status or memory issues;
- Medication use;
- History of past falls;
- Ability to ambulate;
- Vision pattern;
- Gait Balance;
- Blood Pressure; and
- Predisposing diseases.
From this assessment a care plan to prevent falls must be instituted. That care plan must be reviewed and updated if a fall or significant change in one of the fall risk assessment factors takes place.
Some of the most common ways in which neglect at nursing homes is known to result in broken bones include:
- Failure to institute and enforce fall risk procedures;
- Failure to properly train clinical staff on avoiding falls;
- Understaffing clinical staff to save expense; (How many times have you seen a call light go unattended or need to search for staff)
- Failure to properly assess the fall risk of a resident;
- Failure to implement a proper care plan;
- Failure to implement new fall prevention interventions when needed.
Most falls seem to occur when a resident attempts to ambulate to the bathroom unattended. This occurs sometimes because of dementia or confusion. Sometimes it occurs because clinical staff did not respond to a call light request for assistance. Many times such a life changing fall can be avoided by simply instituting a toileting plan where the resident is assisted to the toilet at regular times.
Caregiver Abuse as a Cause of Broken Bones
Sometimes, a loved one’s broken bones are a result of negligent caregivers rather than how nursing homes are run. Some of the most common ways in which caregiver negligence is known to cause broken bones in nursing home residents include:
- Physical abuse;
- Not helping residents when they need to get out of bed or chairs;
- Not routinely and regularly checking on nursing home residents.
While it is an unpleasant thought that your loved ones might be abused in such a way, statistics reveal that abuse of this nature is painfully common. According to one widely referenced 2014 Department of Health and Human Services report, 33% of seniors in skilled nursing facilities experience adverse or temporary harm events.
How to Respond if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you believe that your loved one’s broken bones are the result of nursing home abuse, one of your first actions should be to contact The Department of Health. They can institute a complaint inspection to determine whether the nursing home was deficient in the care of your loved one. While it can be overwhelming, especially if you were the one to discover the injury, you should try to remain calm. You should consider retaining the services of an experienced attorney who can help you ensure your loved one’s rights are protected.
An experience Nursing Home Abuse attorney can access the correct records and determine whether the nursing home took the right steps to prevent your parent from injury. The attorney knows experts in the field who can testify when necessary that safety was ignored or that a nursing home was severely understaffed.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein understands just how overwhelming it can be to find that a loved one has been abused while in a nursing home. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.