Broken bones in the elderly are dangerous injuries. Unlike younger patients, elderly individuals suffering from broken bones do not heal as quickly, and health complications are much more likely to accompany the injury. Limited mobility after a broken bone can result in depression, bed sores and other medical consequences.
Typical Causes of Broken Bones in Nursing Homes
While many broken bone injuries are not preventable and are simply the result of an unpredictable fall, nursing home negligence can be a factor in these types of injuries. Faulty equipment, inattentive staff or abusive staff can contribute to broken bones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1,800 elderly patients die in nursing home falls annually.
The following incidents typically cause broken bones in nursing homes.
- Trips and slips: Elderly people are less agile and sure on their feet. It is not unlikely for an elderly nursing home patient to slip or trip while walking from their beds to the restroom, dining room or other area within the facility. Nursing staff should accompany and assist patients who are unsteady on their feet, and it is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to minimize the likelihood of slip and fall accidents.
- Faulty equipment: Lifts, walkers and other equipment are often used in nursing homes to assist patients when movement becomes difficult. When equipment fails, injuries such as broken bones can result.
- Compression fractures: These types of broken bones are the result of weak bones, such as in the case of osteoporosis. Simple tasks such as walking can cause compression fractures and hip fractures in the elderly. Nursing staff should monitor patients known to have frailty affecting the bones.
- Physical abuse: Broken bones can be a signal that someone in the nursing home is physically harming your loved one. Physical abuse can be suffered at the hands of a staff member or another resident. If your loved one has any unexplained injuries, be sure to question him or her if possible and ask staff for medical records and information regarding the events that led to the injury.
- Neglect: Falls that occur because a nursing home patient was not properly assisted or supervised can be a marker of nursing home neglect. If you believe your loved one fell because he or she was not monitored properly or that staff failed to assist properly with walking or other activities that led to the broken bone, you need to bring your concerns to the attention of staff. If you believe your loved one is at risk for future neglect, consider relocating him or her to a safer place. If you believe neglect is a concern, you may need to involve regulatory agencies, agencies for the aging or local police. Contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury and elder abuse cases to guide you through the process of seeking justice for your loved one.
Seeking Legal Help for Pennsylvania Nursing Home Neglect
When you have a loved one who has been mistreated or abused, you may feel helpless, partially responsible and at a loss for what to do next. A qualified attorney who specializes in personal injury cases and nursing home malpractice can be an invaluable ally in helping you inform the proper authorities, seeking compensation for your loved one’s damages and protecting your loved one from any similar circumstances in the future.
Cordisco & Saile LLC is a law firm that specializes in these types of cases. Our staff is available to review your case and advise you on how best to care for your elderly family member. We are committed to ensuring safe and adequate care for the elderly of our community. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.