Falls in nursing homes are increasing at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 800,000 elders age 65 and older are hospitalized due to falls. The CDC mentions that one out of five falls results in a serious injury – particularly broken bones and head injuries. Elders may also suffer from a future fear of falling.
Not enough attention is given to facial injuries sustained during falls, according to a research journal published by JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.
How often facial injuries occur in nursing homes
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System collected demographic and incident rate data on facial trauma sustained by elders over age 60 from 2011-2015. According to the finding, approximately 109,795 nursing home residents needed emergency care due to facial injuries. The age range most susceptible to facial trauma was 79-89. About 57 percent of these injuries were caused by contact with fixed objects or structures. Another 22 percent occurred while residents were being transferred to and from their beds. The most common types of facial injuries included:
- Nasal injuries – which accounted for 67.5 percent
- Lacerations – which accounted for 44.3 percent
- Soft-tissue injuries – which accounted for 41.8 percent and included:
- Avulsions: An injury in which a part of the impacted area is torn off.
- Contusions: Bruising caused by ruptured blood capillaries.
- Hematomas: Blood clotting that results in swelling.
- Other fractures – which accounted for 12.6 percent
- Orbital – which accounted for 8.3 percent
Procedures nursing homes should be taking
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has deemed nursing home falls a preventable “never event.” This means that if nursing home staff followed standard safety procedures, fall-related injuries wouldn’t happen.
According to Aging Care, nursing homes should do the following to prevent residents from falling:
- Keep floors free of clutter and other tripping hazards.
- Ensure that floors are clean without creating a slip-and-fall hazard.
- Make sure that all rugs are skid-proof.
- Make sure that hallways and stairwells have adequate lighting and handrails are easily accessible.
- Ensure that bathrooms, showers, and toilet areas are equipped with grab bars.
- Make sure light switches are easily accessible
- Make sure closets and other storage units are organized in a way that doesn’t require bending or reaching.
When nursing homes fail, an attorney can help
It is unfortunate that these types of injuries are sustained in nursing homes at such a high rate. Nursing home staff could be doing more to protect our elders, but many nursing homes are understaffed, and many are forced to hire employees who lack experience. Additionally, some nursing home employees choose not to go the extra mile to prevent a fall from occurring.
If your loved one suffered a facial injury due to negligent staff or a poorly organized nursing home, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced, compassionate attorney as soon as possible. Your loved one may sustain serious, or life-threatening, injuries that could require extensive and costly medical treatment. Furthermore, nursing homes often deny any wrongdoing on their part, or the part of their staff.
For more than 10 years, attorney George S. Johnson has successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and has the case results to prove it. Contact him today to find out how he can help you and your family.