An all too common but preventable injury in a skilled nursing home is the broken, or fractured hip. These serious injuries often give rise to nursing home neglect lawsuits. Cases are filed against the facilities for failing to prevent falls that cause these life-threatening injuries.
The number of hip fractures suffered in U.S. nursing homes increases annually. There are a number of reasons, but pure math offers an easy explanation. First, the number of elderly people admitted to facilities is on the rise due to the aging population. As such, just the sheer number of residents leads to an increase falls and fractures.
Second, the increased number of residents has not been met with the increased number of nursing home staff to supervise them. This leads to less supervision and monitoring. The result is more residents, less staff, and more frequent falls.
There are 300,000 reported hip fractures every year in the United States. Approximately 8% of all broken hips in this country occur in nursing homes. A large number of nursing home fractures occur within just a few days of admission to the facility.
The most common causes of broken hips in nursing homes result from falls from beds and wheelchairs. Quite often, this occurs even with staff-assisted transfers. However, many times a resident may require a two-person assisted transfer, but due to understaffing, only one person is assisting.
Other falls are due to wet floors in common areas that cause a resident to slip. Additionally, trips occur to objects and medical equipment obstructing hallways and passage areas. These falls are preventable with proper attention and maintenance by the staff.
There are ways to prevent falls. These include properly identifying residents as “falls risks” and then implementing a care plan to reduce the likelihood of a fall. Prevention measures include increased supervision, low beds, soft floor mats next to beds, and assistance with transfers.
When a resident suffers a broken hip from a preventable fall, it is possible to sue the nursing home for the injury. Nursing home neglect lawsuits demand money compensation for the injuries suffered by the resident. Recoverable damages include compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and payment of medical and therapy bills.
Many residents suffer a significant decline in their overall physical and mental health after a fractured hip. Families often report a major downturn in their condition that ultimately causes an unexpected death. In these situations, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Family members are wise to contact an experienced nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer after a fall causes a broken hip in a loved. The lawyer will get all of the medical records and evaluate them to determine if a case can be filed against the facility. If there was negligence that led to serious harm and injury, a lawsuit should be filed to seek compensation and help prevent such an incident from happening to other residents.