If you have moved a loved one into a nursing home or other elder care facility, you know that it is not an easy decision. You expect that your family member will be safe and well cared for, and the last thing that you would think of is that they may be exposed to nursing home abuse or neglect.
However, the fact is that one-third of U.S. nursing homes have received citations for violating federal standards (NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org). These violations include neglect and abuse that could potentially harm the elderly or that had actually injured the residents via illness, accidents and even death.
Falls Are the Most Frequent Cause of Injury in Nursing Homes
The most frequent cause of preventable emergency room visits made by nursing home residents is an injury from a fall. A typical 100-room nursing home reports an average of 100-200 falls every year (NursingHomeAbuseCenter.org). However, this data doesn’t involve many other falls that go unreported. The incidence of falls in nursing homes is actually twice as high as that of the elderly who don’t live in these facilities.
A fall in this population can inflict serious damage such as hip, pelvis, skull or femur fractures. Patients are also at risk of a severe head injury that can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or brain bleed and that may also result in death.
Can falls be prevented? Staff members must stay alert and focused at all times, especially with those patients with physical disabilities or dementia. Appropriate footwear and walking aids must be available and hazards like slippery floors, spills and poor lighting must be addressed. Staff must check bed rails frequently for safety.
Speak Up If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
Be alert to the mental, physical and emotional condition of your loved one. Look for cuts and bruises, skin irritations, weight loss, dehydration, feelings of fear and emotional detachment. Ask the staff if the resident has fallen or had another type of accident. A fall-related injury is a warning sign of nursing home neglect.
Bring your concerns to the facility management. If no action is taken or the situation worsens, reach out for the Adult Protective Services agency. You can find your local office at the National Council on Aging (telephone 1-800-677-1116). You can also make a complaint to the New York State Department of Health.
We Can Help If Your Family Member Has Been Injured in a Nursing Home
If you or a family member has been harmed by a car accident, truck accident, construction accident, slip and fall or any other type of personal injury, please contact StolzenbergCortelli, LLC Attorneys at Law immediately. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorneys Howard Stolzenberg and Terrence James Cortelli, personal injury attorneys in White Plains, Nyack and New York City, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 800-494-0889 or contact us via the website.