Head Injuries in Nursing Homes
Head injuries often occur from falls due to a failure to properly supervise patients and residents. They are also caused often by assaults from staff and others.
Head injuries can vary greatly in severity. Some head injuries are observably significant. You can physically observe lacerations or fractures. Other head injuries are not observable, primarily causing injury to the brain.
Despite the specific nature of the head injury, almost all such injuries that occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are preventable.
Common Causes of Head Injuries in Nursing Homes
Falls often occur due to the failure of staff to ensure the following:
- Bed heights are properly adjusted
- Bed rails are properly installed and secured
- Wheelchairs are properly maintained
- Wheelchairs are appropriately adjusted for each resident/patient
- Floors and common areas are free from trip hazards
- Water and other moisture is promptly removed in areas where residents/patients walk
- Staff is not hired or retained that physically abuses residents/patients.
Observable Head Injuries
Common injuries that are observable to the skull include the following. They range a lot in severity and impact they have on the person injured.
- Skull Fractures
Unobservable Head Injuries – Closed Head Injures
Some injuries to the head (sometimes called closed head injuries) are not easily noticed.
A person can fall and sustain a severe head injury that is not readily observable without diagnostic equipment.
That victim may be entirely responsive following the incident but over time begin to slowly show symptoms of the injury they sustained.
It is essential to assess the nature and extent of any head injury that a resident or patient sustains. Failing to do so promptly may be negligent regardless of the cause of the injury itself.
There are four types of closed head injuries a nursing home patient may sustain:
Epidural Hematoma – A hematoma is a gathering of blood in a specific location outside of a blood vessel. An epidural hematoma occurs when blood accumulates between the skull and the outermost covering of the brain. If a nursing home patient sustains this type of injury, they may momentarily lose consciousness and then regain consciousness. It may not be readily known that they have sustained a more serious head injury.
Subdural Hematoma – This is a gathering of blood that occurs on the surface of the brain.
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage – this type of injury involves the brain and the thin layer of tissue that covers the brain. This is not commonly caused by a fall. A sharp headache usually precedes a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Typical symptoms also include loss of consciousness and vomiting.
Intracerebral Hemorrhage – This is bleeding inside of your brain. This is the most common type of intracranial hemorrhage and not usually the result of an injury.
Symptoms of Closed Head Injuries
These are some of the symptoms a nursing home patient or resident may display if they are suffering from a closed head injury.
They may experience all or none or some combination of them depending on the type of closed head injury sustained.
- difficulty speaking
- decreased consciousness
- elevated blood pressure
- a sudden and severe headache
- a headache associated with a recent blow to your head
- a mild and long-lasting headache
- a headache accompanied by neck stiffness
- vomiting more than twice in 24 hours
Get the Answers You Need
If you are consumed with worry about your loved one and believe they have sustained a head injury in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact me today.
I am available to speak with victims and their family members at no charge. I handle all nursing home head injury cases on a contingency basis. You don’t pay unless we win.
Contact me today.