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Study May Have Exposed Elderly Boston Nursing Home Patients to Greater Risk of Fall Accidents

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 1,300 nursing home patients, including 268 in Massachusetts, may have been placed at a greater risk of falling when they took part in a study to see how well padded hip protectors serve as a buffer for residents during fall accidents. The yearlong study, led by Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, a Harvard Medical School gerontologist, involved researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, and the Washington University School of Medicine. Now, the federal Office for Human Research Protections is mandating that a number of the study’s participants, many of whom were suffering from cognitive impairments, be notified of the serious risks that they were exposed to during the program.

The study took place between 2002 and 2006. Researchers wanted to see whether using padded underwear on just one side of the body, rather than on both hips, provided any benefits. However, data during the study began to indicate that wearing the garment might actually be causing falls, with the more serious fall injuries seeming to occur on the side of the body that was padded and not the one without the added protection. According to regulators, however, despite this realization the scientists failed to inform the patients.

Fall Accidents
Many elderly nursing home patients, due to their health issues and/or advanced age, already are at higher risk of falling than younger/healthier people. If you believe that your loved one was injured in a Boston fall accident because staff was negligent, failed to provide the proper safety measures to prevent such an accident, or because other parties placed him/her in a situation that increased the injury risk, you should speak with an experienced Boston personal injury law firm right away.

Fall accidents are serious accidents for elderly/sick nursing home patients. It can take many months to recover from a hip fracture or a broken bone-especially when one is at an advanced age. Sometimes, a patient might never fully recover. Infection and other health complications may result, not to mention depression for the resident who finds his/her lack of mobility debilitating in more ways than one.

Study may have exposed Boston seniors to increased risk of falling, Boston Globe, October 4, 2012

Expression of Concern fficacy of a hip protector to prevent hip fracture in nursing home residents: the HIP PRO randomized controlled trial, The Journal of the American Medical Association, October 4, 2012

More Blog Posts:
Williamstown, Massachusetts Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit Seeks Berkshire County Wrongful Death Compensation Following Patient’s Fall Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2012

Does Taking Diuretics Increase the Risk of Massachusetts Fall Accidents at Boston Nursing Homes?, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 19, 2011

Hot Weather Can Place the Health of Boston Nursing Home Patients at Risk, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2012