Nursing homes can be the site of injuries and abuse for the elderly. If a nursing home staff member is neglectful or fails to properly perform his or her job, a nursing home resident can suffer from a serious injury.
Some injuries, such as bed sores or fractures, may not be immediately apparent. However, facial injuries tend to be obvious, and may indicate nursing home neglect.
Facial injuries and falls
Falls are a common occurrence in nursing home patients, and falls can often result in facial injuries. In fact, a study in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery looked at statistics in 2016 and reported that over 20,000 nursing home residents had serious injuries to the face that year. To put that number in perspective, there are about 1.4 million Americans living in nursing homes.
Links between falls and neglect
People often need the round-the-clock assistance of nursing home staff due to a loss of mobility; getting out of bed or a chair to go to the bathroom can result in a fall. Therefore, it is essential for someone to be available to answer a call for assistance right away. A resident who does not receive a timely response may decide not to wait.
Falls often occur when dementia residents wander. A fully staffed nursing home should be able to keep residents in a secure area. Patients should wear nonskid socks or shoes, and staff should keep surfaces clean and clear of tripping hazards.
Residents also frequently fall from beds or chairs if not properly secured. While staff should not restrain residents by tying them to a chair or bed, safe bed railings and proper angle and support in chairs can keep them from tipping or rolling to the floor.
In any of these situations, if the facility is understaffed or staff is not properly trained, residents may fall and suffer serious facial injuries, or worse.