When an elderly family member or loved one moves into a nursing home, you want to know that the nursing home will provide the kind of care that’s required. It’s hard enough for an elderly person to change their life and transition into a nursing home environment without the added concern of wondering if they will suffer harm or neglect.
And while most nursing homes provide care with out problems, sometimes problems can occur. The types of harms that elderly people suffer as a result of nursing home negligence, malpractice, or intentional actions usually fall into several categories, some of which we list here.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Nursing Homes
Slip and fall injuries are fairly common in nursing homes, and usually result when a property or facility fails to take adequate steps to provide a safe environment. When the environment itself contains a danger and leads people to suffer injuries after they slip or fall, the nursing home facility can be liable for the harm the elderly person suffers.
Nursing home slip and fall cases can be a little more complicated than other slip and fall cases because elderly people are often much less able to take care of themselves. When a nursing home fails to recognize the elderly person’s declining abilities or fails to take the adequate precautions, their residents can suffer harm because of it. Not only that, but elderly people who injure themselves in slip and fall accidents often suffer greater harm than younger people. It’s estimated that about 10% of elderly people who slip and fall every year develop serious medical complications, such as hip fractures, torn ligaments, or other types of injuries.
Nursing homes sometimes use chemical or physical restraints to prevent elderly people from causing harm to themselves or others. Restraints can include leg or arm straps, wheelchair safety bars, and other devices that prevent or limit an elderly person from moving freely. Other forms of restraint include bed sheets that are tucked in so tightly that they restrict movement, or even isolating the elderly person in a single room. Chemical restraints, on the other hand, are sedatives or other drugs that limit an elderly person’s desire or ability to move.
In either situation, restraints that are used incorrectly, contrary to the standard of care, or which are otherwise used negligently can result in serious harm to the resident.
Elderly people are often less able to tell when something is too hot. In some cases, for example, nursing home staff members do not provide enough supervision to prevent an elderly resident from suffering a scald injury as a result of a hot bath or shower. In other situations, burn injuries can result when an elderly resident is unable to recognize a hot object.