Nursing Home Falls & Broken Bones Lawyers in Maryland
Falls & Fractures Leave Your Loved One Broken
Nursing homes are required to take precautions to ensure that they are operating a safe facility with minimal fall hazards. If a resident falls, the injury sustained has the potential to significantly impact their everyday lives. If you have a loved one who has recently fallen and broken a bone at a nursing facility, we will carefully review your case to determine if negligence was the cause.
Unexplained Broken Bones, Cuts, & Bruises
Approximately 90% of broken bones suffered by individuals under nursing home care are a direct result of falling. While mostly unavoidable, it’s an unfortunate reality that a number of broken bones, cuts, or bruises can also be a direct result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Due to general forgetfulness, weakness of muscles, and other contributing factors, it’s difficult to determine which injuries are innocent and which came as a direct result of improper care. Broken bones are the most obvious examples of improper care. They will cause the longest-lasting pain and discomfort. Unexplained cuts and bruises should also be noted, questioned, and followed up on if they continue to appear.
It may take both medical and legal experts to analyze the specific situation and determine the root cause of the injuries to your loved one.
Why Do Nursing Home Falls Happen?
There are several factors that contribute to the number of falls that occur within nursing homes. Most nursing home patients are either elderly, injured, or both. With increasing age, muscle weakness becomes more and more apparent, which can result in a fall. Injuries that affect the walking or gait of a resident can also be contributing factors to falls. Regarding injuries, ensuing medications and dosages could also play a role in whether a fall occurs.
Hubris (excessive self-confidence) can also result in falls if a resident is attempting to move from one place to another under their own power when they should only be doing so under close supervision or with the assistance of the nursing facility staff.
Improper elder foot care or using shoes that do not properly fit can directly result in a resident falling and potentially injuring themselves. A more avoidable cause of falls is the environment of the nursing home facility, including poor lighting, wet floors, improper bed height, or inadequate wheelchair size.
How Can Falls Be Prevented in Nursing Homes?
Preventing falls in a nursing home occurs, in part, on a management level. One method of preventing falls is educating both residents and staff on how to avoid hazardous situations in the nursing facility. Increasing exercise for residents would directly address one of the main contributing factors of falls—muscle weakness. Staff should be reviewing the resident’s records when giving medications to determine if there are fall risks. Continual education of staff members about falls, risk factors, and prevention efforts can dramatically decrease the rate of falls and improve the overall health of residents of a facility.
Facility upgrades can drastically reduce the likelihood of residents falling and injuring themselves. Such upgrades could include raised toilet seats, handrails, grab bars, and decreased bed heights. A problem occurs when the same issue is repeatedly present and not addressed. This puts both the residents and the facility in jeopardy.
The following are important resources to consider when choosing an assisted living facility for your loved one, as well as reporting suspected incidents of nursing home abuse:
- Medicare Five-Star Quality Rating System
- CDC FastStats — Nursing Home Care
- Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators Complaint Process
- Register of Wills
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid: Find and Compare Nursing Homes
- Maryland Department of Aging
- Maryland Department of Healthcare Quality
- Administration for Community Living
- United States Department of Justice: Elder Justice Initiative (EJI)
Fear of a Caregiver
A nursing home patient who is the victim of any form of injury will likely grow fearful of a caregiver. If your loved one is showing signs that indicate fear, such as acting disconnected from family and friends or acting out in a different way, they may be receiving poor and unlawful treatment related to nursing home injuries.
When to Seek Help
While some falls are unavoidable, a fair number are not. If you notice continual injuries or bruising of a loved one, or unexplained or undocumented falls, you should contact a legal professional and voice your concerns.
Potter Burnett Law will carefully review the evidence or signs to ensure that the patient is placed out of harm’s way and receives justice. The lawyers at Potter Burnett Law have the experience to represent you and your loved ones in cases of nursing home injury and assisted living facility injuries.
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