Transitioning to a nursing home can be emotionally and physically challenging for your loved one. He or she will need to adapt to a new living environment and the loss of certain freedoms and autonomy. The reliance on caregivers for basic daily needs – such as nutrition, bathing, hydration and medical care – places nursing home patients in increased danger of neglect and abuse. Fortunately, the majority of nursing homes have the best interests of patients in mind at all times. Exceptions do exist, however.
Nursing home staff have a responsibility to protect patients from harm. Although not every accident is preventable, staff should take precautions to ensure that patients don’t suffer injuries caused by their own limitations. One of the most common easily-preventable injuries is facial trauma. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the high incidence of facial trauma in nursing homes is cause for concern. The study used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to track reports of facial injuries in U.S. nursing homes over a five-year period. The results showed that:
- more than 100,000 nursing home patients received emergency treatment for facial injuries,
- 84 was the median age of patients with this type of injury,
- about 65 percent of the patients were female,
- injuries involved lacerations, fractures, and injury to soft tissues, and
- nasal and orbital fractures were the most common.
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home facility, it’s imperative that you take immediate action. In addition to reporting the suspected mistreatment to management, you should contact a Boston nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.
Fall Injuries are Not Inevitable
The loss of balance and coordination that often accompanies aging makes elderly nursing home patients more prone to falls. Brittle bones and the body’s diminishing capacity to heal itself can turn a simple fall into a debilitating or deadly injury. Patients are most at risk of facial injuries when they are being transferred to another bed or to a chair, or when they are walking without proper supervision or the assistance of a walker. All fall injuries can be life-threatening to an elderly patient, but facial injuries can also damage the patient’s ability to speak, or even breathe. Although elderly patients have a higher risk of falling than their younger counterparts, falls are not inevitable. Don’t let nursing home staff tell you otherwise.
Was Negligence a Factor?
Nursing home staff have a duty to provide your loved one with reasonable care based on his or her unique needs. When understaffing, inadequate training or negligent hiring results in an injury, the nursing home or its employee(s) should be held accountable. To prove negligence, you must be able to show that the following situations existed:
- The nursing home owed a duty of care to the patient.
- The nursing home breached its duty of care.
- The injury was a direct result of that breach.