Nursing home abuse and neglect can be the result of many sources—facilities are overcrowded, and staff are overworked. Despite the absorptive amount of money being collected from their residents, nursing home providers occasionally improperly treat those they should be caring for and protecting from harm.
There are certain physical and behavioral signs to detect when abuse and neglect are present. When certain injuries become copious or occur too frequently, it can signal trouble. An experienced nursing home abuse & neglect attorney in Memphis knows how to spot abuse or neglect. And if abuse is evidenced, a Memphis nursing home abuse & neglect lawyer can help navigate the claims process.
Ten Most Common Injuries in Nursing Homes
Families often have to decide about a loved one moving into a nursing home or which home they should move to. It is important to ask if the facility will keep them safe and secure.
These decisions often hinge on knowing about the most common injuries that occur when elderly people or adults with physical or mental disabilities are abused or neglected. Some of these injuries happen when residents are unmonitored. Some occur when the staff acts inappropriately.
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When a senior spends too long lying down, their blood flow decreases in certain areas of the body. This can cause necrosis or the dying of skin tissue, ultimately allowing lesions to form. This usually results from constant pressure on bony parts of the body.
Bedsores often occur on:
- Coccyx or tailbone
- Sacrum in the pelvic area
Suffering these pressure sores for too long can result in infections. In the worst cases, surgical debridement will be needed to stop the spreading infection.
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Elderly people with a weaker immune system have a predisposition to infections. Nursing homes exacerbate the spread of infection because of the confined living conditions. Common infections suffered by seniors include:
- Skin infections
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
Many have related conditions or diseases that can make even a simple infection more dangerous, leading to other health risks. Some of these concurrent conditions are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Residents often develop blood infection indicators like sepsis. Often signaling meningitis, this condition results from an onslaught of bacteria that overwhelms white blood cells. Sepsis patients may display chills and fever, rushed breathing, and/or a rapid heartbeat.
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3. Slip and Fall
Living in a nursing home, even a facility with handrails and non-skid floors does not mean a person is immune from slipping and falling. Accidents happen, and these occurrences happen even more when the staff is not monitoring the residents as they should.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are a reported 100 to 200 falls in a typical nursing home every year. The data shows that more than half of all nursing home residents experience falls, and every resident suffers an estimated 2.6 falls annually. These injuries often indicate:
- Environmental hazards
- Medication Errors
- Muscle weakness or difficulty moving
An average of 1,800 deaths results from falls. Approximately 15% of these incidents result in serious injuries, including:
- Functional decline
- Reduced quality of life
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4. Bed Rail and Restraint Injuries
The problems with balance and coordination can also be true when the elderly go to bed. This results in senior facilities using bed rails to avoid the residents from falling out of their beds.
When the staff does not monitor patients using bed rails or assist them in and out of the bed, the risk of injury increases. If unmonitored or if the bed rails malfunction, residents can try to climb over the rail and fall, or they can get stuck between the rail and the mattress, leading to:
- Breathing problems and suffocation
- Cardiac arrest
Occasionally, patients need to be physically and chemically restrained. Often, excessive force is used, resulting in injuries, including:
- Head injuries
- Internal bleeding
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Increased risks of slipping and falling can lead to seniors developing hip and neck fractures. Surgery is common to repair hip and neck issues. Unfortunately, these surgeries also endanger lives when cardiac and pulmonary complications occur.
6. Head and Spinal Injuries
The CDC estimates one-third of all nursing home residents suffer head injuries. Concussions often occur from the impact of slip-and-falls. These injuries often become more problematic when patients have other health issues.
The same goes for spinal injuries. It limits mobility and causes paralysis. Complications like bedsores and pneumonia can arise when a senior is paralyzed. In more severe injuries, more of the body is affected, including:
- Limb paralysis
- Bowel incontinence
- Breathing problems
Many nursing home residents have difficulties chewing and swallowing. As a result, an unmonitored resident can choke while eating, drinking, or taking medication. If choking does not kill the patient, it often leads to brain damage from a lack of oxygen.
8. Medication Injuries
When a facility’s staff keeps poor records or provides negligent medical treatment, the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage of a medication is often administered. On average, a nursing home’s staff will make at least one medication mistake every day. These mistakes can lead to injury and death.
9. Malnutrition and Dehydration
One of the most important jobs the staff at a nursing home does is monitor what a resident eats and drinks. When this simple task is not done, residents are more likely to fall, get infections, have bowel complications, have weakened muscles, and get depressed.
Burns often lead to possible fatal or life-altering injuries. There are any number of ways that residents suffer burn injuries in nursing homes, including:
- Getting into extremely hot water
- Scalding from food and drinks
- Being exposed to dangerous chemicals or open fires
Contact a Memphis Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
A nursing home abuse & neglect lawyer in Memphis can identify what to expect when a beloved member of your family is being cared for in a nursing home. The staff is expected tox be professional and keep your loved one safe and look after their needs.
The Memphis nursing home abuse & neglect attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC bring over 50 years of successful experience. If you suspect a nursing home is risking a loved one’s health and well-being, contact us to schedule a free consultation.