Fractures in Nursing Homes
Fractures in nursing homes and assisted living facilities happen too often. Due to their age and physical condition, patients are susceptible to sustaining fractures.
In other cases, however, the fractures are the result of negligence or abuse.
If you or a loved one have sustained a fracture in a nursing home or assisted living or other similar facility and want to discuss the matter with an attorney, contact my office.
I exclusively represent nursing home injury patients including nursing home fracture cases. I provide free consultations and take all nursing home cases on a contingency basis.
Common Types of Nursing Home Fractures
Many different types of fractures occur in nursing homes but frequently the following types of fractures are seen:
- Hip Fractures
- Arm and Leg Fractures
- Skull Fractures
- Neck Fractures
Cause of Fractures in Nursing Homes
The most common cause of fractures in the nursing home or assisted living setting is falling, being dropped, or pushed to the ground – all of which often result from negligence or abuse.
Falls may result from failures to ensure clients that are a fall risk do not gain access to dangerous parts of the facility.
They may also result from the failure to supervise residents and patients that are a known fall risk or ensure their wheel chairs, walkers, and beds are properly adjusted and functioning properly.
Many preventable falls that cause fractures are due to a failure to keep rooms and common areas free from hazardous conditions like liquids and trip hazards such as faulty carpet and flooring.
Fractures also occur when staff fails to properly move a patient from their bed to their wheel chair or vice a versa.
Patients may be dropped because staff fails to follow proper procedures regarding moving patients or fails to ensure the devide they are moving the patient to is properly secured.
Pushed or Assaulted
Unfortunately, some nursing home employees and other residents get frustrated and take that frustration out on other residents and patients.
This typically occurs with a push or a strike that results in the patient falling. Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether the fall resulted from a physical assault.
A nursing home lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence and evaluation to make the determination.
Signs that Fractures Resulted from Negligence
There are many signs that can help show whether a fracture resulted from an unavoidable accident or instead was a preventable incident.
Here are just a few:
The Location of the Fall Resulting in a Fracture
Sometimes the patients/resident is evaluated as a fall risk and prevented from going certain places in the facility. If a resident fall in a location in the facility they were not supposed to have access to that is strong evidence that they were not properly supervised and negligence was a significant factor.
Other times, the resident will fall in a location where they are only allowed to be with extensive supervision, i.e., a shower or bathroom. In that case, the location is a circumstance that suggest that negligence was a factor because in the location at issue the resident/patient should have had significant supervision for the specific purpose of preventing a fall.
Other locations may include, near a bed or wheel chair or walker – suggesting they were not properly supervised while they were being moved or assisted from one place or device to the other.
Lack of Fall Assessment prior to Fall Resulting in a Fracture
Sometimes after a fall a family member will learn that their loved one was never given a fall assessment or the fall assessment is entirely inconsistent with the reality of their loved one’s physical condition.
In that case, failing to properly asses the resident/patients fall risk is significant negligence that caused the fall. Every nursing home and assisted living facility is required to do an accurate fall assessment.
Failure or Delay in Notifying Family and Friends about Fracture
If a family member falls and the facility fails to promptly notify the family of the fall that may also suggest negligence. This is particularly true where the facility has a notification procedure, i.e., a certain time after an incident that the facility claims it will report such incidents and it fails to follow it’s own rules regarding the notification
Fracture is Not Consistent with Explanation of Fall
Sometimes the facility will provide an explanation for the incident that does not seem consistent with the observable injuries sustained by the patient/resident. In that case, it is important to obtain all the necessary information to make the appropriate determination. Any facility that conceals or hides information from a patient or their family is no place for a loved one to stay.
Medication Changes Prior to or Around Time of Fracture
Sometimes a patient/resident will sustain a fracture at or around the time their medication was changed. Often these fractures result from a fall and could have been prevented if the facility properly supervised the patient following the medication change. Anytime a patients medication is changed, a good facility will have policies and procedures for increasing evaluation and supervision of that patient during the time that the medication may increase their likelihood for sustaining a fracture due to falling.
Signs that the Fracture Resulted from Abuse
In other cases, there may be signs that the fracture was caused by abuse. Typically, these signs are subtler – though in some cases other staff or residents or the victim themselves may identify the person that caused the fracture and it could be a he said/she said situation.
Fracture Doesn’t Seem Consistent with Provided Explanation
Facilities may provide an explanation for a fracture that seems illogical – that makes you think something like, “how could that fracture result from the cause they say?”
Patient/Resident Won’t Talk About It
In other cases, the patient or resident won’t talk about the cause of the fracture. They may seem closed off or scared to discuss it. That is a huge red flag that the fracture resulted from abuse.
Patient/Resident Becomes Withdrawn Following the Fracture
Becoming withdrawn is a symptom of abuse. If a patient’s attitude changes after a fracture or they cannot or will not talk about it or other matters in front of certain staff or other residents, that may be a sign of ongoing abuse and suggests the fracture may have been caused by the same.
Get the Answers You Deserve
If you or your family has sustained a fracture in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact my office. I provide free consultations and only handle nursing home cases on a contingency basis.
I can help your family get the justice they deserve and potentially prevent another person from suffering the same harm. Contact me today.