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Nursing home injuries and what to do about them

You knew you could not possibly care for Grandma on your own any longer; she simply needed too much medical care and around-the-clock attention. Because the family loves her so very much, everyone discussed it and, together, made the difficult decision to place her in an Ohio nursing home. Granted, it is expensive, but you only want what is best for her. This way, you can visit frequently and still see her often without worrying that something might happen while you are at work.

Now, though, you are starting to grow concerned. When you visited a few weeks ago, you noticed that Grandma had bruises all over her arm. Today, you asked why she kept grabbing her wrist. She told you she slipped and fell when she needed to use the bathroom; no one came to help her but she couldn't wait any longer. You are afraid her wrist might be broken. You wanted what was best for Grandma, but now you are starting to fear this situation is far from it.

What are nursing home injuries?

Injuries suffered in nursing homes are a serious - and growing - problem. A full 20 percent of elderly accidents and falls take place in nursing homes, even though a mere 5 percent of the elderly population lives in them. Even more upsetting is that nearly 5,000 elderly nursing home residents die each year from injuries or neglect.

How do these injuries happen?

Nursing home residents are naturally more frail and tend to suffer from walking problems and muscle weakness, not to mention that medication - or overmedication - may cause many of them trouble with their balance. It stands to reason, then, that nursing homes would be as safe and easy to navigate as possible. Sadly, this is not always the case.

As many as 27 percent of falls and accidents in nursing homes occur due to the following hazards that increase risk for the elderly residents attempting to move about:

  1. Obstacles in hallways
  2. Wet floors
  3. Narrow stairs
  4. Poor lighting
  5. Improper bed height

Another important and upsetting factor that results in many nursing home injuries is neglect. This could be as simple as a case of understaffing leading to inattention, or it could be a lack of professional responsibility. Regardless, this is unacceptable. Whatever the reasons, failure to adequately monitor patients to the degree their situation and environment requires can - and does - result in injury and sometimes death.

Worst of all, whether we like to think about it or not, cases of active elderly abuse do occur, and sometimes the victims are too afraid to speak up for themselves.

What should I do now?

If you believe that the nursing home staff is responsible for Grandma's injuries -whether through fault or negligence -- you might not know what to do next in order to obtain justice. An Ohio elder abuse attorney may be able to offer insight and counsel. Whether your elderly loved one's injuries are because of inattentive nursing staff or are the direct result of abuse, a lawyer will be able to offer advice into how best to proceed.

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Suite 1610 - Midland Building
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