Nursing Home Injuries
Nursing Home Injuries in San Antonio, TX
Elder abuse and neglect are growing problems in nursing homes all over the country. Nursing homes may only house a small percentage (5%) of the elderly population in this country, but that’s still almost 1.5 million people. This number is only expected to rise in the next decade as the baby boomer population grows into old age. Nursing facilities often have well-trained staff and the proper resources to take care of our elderly family members. Unfortunately, poorly trained staff and negligent facilities can cause many nursing home injuries.
The attorneys at Janicek Law focus on giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. We fight aggressively for the rights of injured victims all over San Antonio, Texas. If your loved one was injured while in a nursing home, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You have legal options available to get the justice you and your family deserve. Go over the details of your case with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at Janicek Law. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 210-366-4949.
Nursing Home Injury Statistics
Nursing home residents have a much higher risk of injury than elders living in the community. This is in part due to nursing home residents being older, frailer, and more likely to have a serious illness. Nursing home injuries and negligence cause more than 5,000 deaths each year. A quarter of nursing homes are cited for causing serious injury or death every year. More than 10% of nursing home residents have pressure ulcers, commonly known as bedsores. More than half of nursing home residents fall each year, but this number could be significantly underreported.
Nursing home injuries will continue to escalate due to a nursing staff shortage and the growing nursing home population. Families pay thousands of dollars every year for their elderly family members to be taken care of in a nursing home. When the resident endures negligence and abuse, the entire family suffers. We’ll educate you on some of the more common nursing home injuries so you can keep an eye out for your elderly family members.
Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries
As people age, the risk of injury increases. Many families make the decision to put older family members into a nursing home setting so they can get the help they need. Nursing home staff members are supposed to help older adults live out the rest of their lives with comfort and dignity. Unfortunately, negligence and abuse can pose a serious risk to the well-being of your family member. Serious injuries can have long-term consequences for elderly patients and even lead to death. Nursing home injuries may give you a reason to believe your family member is suffering from abuse or neglect. If you begin to notice any of the injuries below, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Janicek Law right away.
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, happen when prolonged pressure cuts off blood flow to parts of the skin. Skin tissue needs blood flow and without it, the tissue begins to die. Severe cases of bedsores can result in an open wound that goes as deep as the bone. Serious infections can take root in the open wound and can be life-threatening. Bedsores can happen on any bony part of the body that remains immobile for too long. Most cases tend to happen on the tailbone, back, head, shoulders, and elbows. Patients with mobility issues should be moved frequently to prevent these issues.
Bed Rail Injuries
Bed rails are often used to prevent residents from rolling out of bed or to help residents sit up in bed. The most common bedrail injury happens when a nursing home resident gets stuck between the bedrail and the mattress. Many nursing home residents are generally weaker and on more medication than the average person. As their body sinks between the mattress and the bedrail, the hard objects can constrict the lungs and make it impossible for the person to take another breath. Taller bed rails can result in a fall from a greater height if the patient becomes confused and tries to roll off the bed. Instead of the patient trying to exit the bed normally, the patient may struggle to climb over the bed rail and end up falling. Fractures and broken bones often result from falling over a bed rail.
About half of nursing home residents fall every year. A third of nursing home residents who experience one fall are likely to fall many more times within the year. Roughly 1,800 nursing home residents die every year after a fall. From 2007 to 2016, fall-related deaths increased by 30%. If this trend continues, we can expect 7 fall-related deaths per hour by 2030. Nursing home fall injuries can have a lasting effect on long-term care residents. Falls can often cause brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. Some residents have health conditions that can increase their fall risk, but many falls are caused by negligence.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are most commonly caused by falls. TBIs can result in a loss of physical sensation, memory loss, behavioral issues, and neurological function issues.
Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis or a loss of function depending on the level of the injury. The spinal cord carries information from different parts of the body to the brain. Any interruption in these nerves can mean a total loss of sensation and movement in some areas of the body.
Hip fractures are most often caused by falls–more than 95% of them, according to the CDC. Hip fractures often have a long and expensive recovery. Many older adults have health issues that contribute to broken bones during a fall, such as osteoporosis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown our nation the extreme vulnerability of nursing home residents. At a time in their lives when they need family the most, visiting restrictions and other safety measures are keeping residents from their families. Sadly, this isolation has made it difficult for family members to check in on their loved ones. In the past, a weekly visit could keep family members attuned to their loved one’s health and well-being. As families continue being unable to check on their relatives, potential abuse and neglect go undetected. The pandemic also shows how quickly infections can transmit in nursing homes. COVID-19 has taken numerous lives in nursing homes due to poor infection control.
Other types of infections that have deadly consequences include sepsis, MRSA, UTIs, and respiratory infections. Many nursing home residents have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to transmittable diseases.
MRSA is a type of antibiotic-resistant staph infection that can cause life-threatening complications like sepsis or pneumonia.
Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection. Sepsis can lead to septic shock, which often involves total organ shutdown. Nearly half of elderly patients with sepsis die from their complications.
UTIs are the second most frequent infection in nursing homes. Frequent urinary tract infections can be a sign that a patient’s personal hygiene is being neglected by nursing home staff. UTIs are often caused by infrequent bathroom trips, dehydration, and improper catheter care.
When negligent staff members fail to take the correct precautions, many nursing home residents can be injured by choking. Many residents have a higher risk of choking due to dental problems, neurological disorders, or even as a side effect of medication. Choking causes a lack of oxygen to the brain, and this can result in neurological damage and even death.
Many nursing home residents are overmedicated for the convenience of nursing home staff members. Antipsychotic medications pose a health hazard to patients with dementia, but many dementia patients are still given antipsychotics to lessen their agitation and confusion. Understaffed nursing facilities can abuse this type of drug by giving them to patients without medical necessity. Antipsychotic drugs keep patients sleepy and docile. They can also contribute to more injuries because patients have less control over their movements and a loss of balance.
Negligent staff members can also injure patients by not administering the correct medication or the correct dosages.
How are Nursing Home Injuries a Sign of Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home injuries are frequently a sign of abuse or neglect. Not all injuries are entirely preventable, but nursing homes and their staff can take steps to reduce them significantly. When nursing home residents suffer from extensive injuries, it should be a major red flag. Adequate staff and well-trained personnel should be able to provide all the necessary care for their residents.
Besides the injuries listed above, some common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse can include:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Sudden change in mood or behavior (increased depression, crying)
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Fear of nursing staff or other residents
- Bruises or scratches
How San Antonio Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Can Help
If you have any reason to believe your loved one is being harmed in a nursing home, contact the nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at Janicek Law today. Personal injury claims can be overwhelming, especially when the victim is an elderly loved one. At Janicek Law, our attorneys focus on getting justice for the injuries your loved one sustained. We will gather all the necessary evidence to pursue your claim and ensure the negligent party is held accountable. An attorney-client relationship can protect your rights and stop the abuse.
Recovering Compensation in a Nursing Home Injury Claim
For a successful nursing home injury claim, you and your legal team must be able to prove a few different elements of legal negligence. To prove negligence, you must first establish a duty of care between the parties. Nursing homes and their staff have a duty to protect their residents. Nursing homes also have a legal duty to provide adequate security.
You must be able to prove that the nursing home or its staff breached this duty of care. A breach of duty can include a staff member’s mistake, lack of adequate training, loose security, or other negligent act. To pursue compensation, you must be able to prove that this breach of duty caused your loved one to sustain injuries and that those injuries caused financial losses.
Call Janicek Law Today
At Janicek Law, every case is considered a high priority. We know the feelings of helplessness and despair that come with realizing an elderly family member is being neglected or abused by people that are supposed to help them.
Schedule your free consultation with an experienced lawyer at Janicek Law today. We offer a free case review for every case. If you have any more questions about how we can help, call us today at 210-366-4949.