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Common Causes of Nursing Home Injuries

Nurse and Patient
Many people are hesitant to place their elderly parent or grandparent into a nursing home because of the stigma associated with the rampant abuse allegations in many facilities. The majority of nursing homes are staffed with caring, kind professionals who will treat your loved one with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, abuse and injuries still occur at a few facilities.
Here are a few of the most common types of nursing home abuse and injuries.
Prolonged Restraint
Restraints are typically used for a nursing home resident’s own protection. For example, staff might use them on a patient with a history of falling out of bed or their wheelchair. Restraints should be a last resort and only used temporarily, such as when the patient is sleeping. Abused patients are often left in restraints for many hours, leaving them unable to use the bathroom, eat, or drink.
Positional asphyxiation while restrained is a cause of nursing home brain injury and death. This condition occurs when the patient is restrained in a strange position that blocks their airway. If they are too weak or unable to move their head, they cannot get enough oxygen.
Dehydration and Malnutrition
Patients who are not given adequate food and water will exhibit several symptoms associated with malnutrition and dehydration, including:
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Pale skin
  • Canker sores
  • Severe weight loss
  • Exhaustion Irritability, confusion, and depression
  • Trouble standing or walking Hallucinations
Many times, the staff is unaware of the patient's needs, such as medications that can lead to dehydration. Unfortunately, malnutrition and dehydration can occur due to neglect.
Bed Sores
Decubitus ulcers, or bed sores, occur when an individual lies in the same position for several hours, wears dirty clothing for an extended period of time, or suffers an untreated injury, such as a severe scrape. They are more common in areas that feature thinner layers of skin, such as near bones.
Patients who are diabetic, underweight, malnourished, or elderly face a higher risk of bed sores. Unfortunately, in a nursing home setting, bed sores often occur when a patient with mobility issues or open sores is left unattended in bed for several hours or days.
Slips and Falls
Approximately 9,500 American over the age of 65 die after suffering a slip and fall injury, making it the leading cause of death in this age group. Falls at nursing homes will occur for any number of reasons. For example, your loved one might slip in the bathtub or trip over a piece of furniture. The patient's age, a mobility issue, or a medical condition are contributing factors in a slip and fall.
Negligence on part of the nursing home, the administrators, or staff is another contributing factor. For example, if the staff isn't properly trained on how to help an elderly person out of bed, the beds and rails are in disrepair, or the facility does not provide adequate lighting, then negligence could be grounds to file a lawsuit.
Infection
Most nursing home–acquired infections are preventable and treatable if the facility is properly maintained and the staff closely looks after residents. Unfortunately, if the nursing home is understaffed or the staff lack the training to spot the signs of infection or provide proper treatment, the patient's condition could worsen and cause several complications, including sepsis.
Sepsis occurs when chemicals that are naturally produced by the body to fight an infection flood the patient's blood. It can lead to septic shock, which can be deadly.
Nursing home injuries are common and unfortunately, sometimes caused by negligence. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at the Law Office of Adebimpe Jafojo, P.C.