May 22, 2013
As people enter the later years of life, many physical changes begin to take places, especially in the bones, joints, and musculoskeletal system. As a result, older adults are not only prone to slipping and falling more often, but they are also at a much higher risk for breaking bones. Many senior citizens live in nursing homes because they understand the risks of seriously injuring themselves if they live alone without assistance. Nursing homes have the responsibility to take care of and monitor the safety of residents. Some accidents, of course, happen regardless of the best care. Yet, statistics show that there are an array of accidents which could have been prevented had the nursing home staff been more diligent and aware.
Reasons for Broken Bones in Nursing Homes
Per Federal laws, nursing homes in the United States must complete and provide a care assessment plan for each resident. This should be done before the resident is accepted into the nursing home to ensure that the facility has the proper equipment and qualified staff members to handle the resident’s needs. The care plan must have a devised safety plan for needy residents who need help with moving and/or walking. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), several hundred nursing homes fail to properly assess each resident upon arrival each year. This negligent behavior has resulted in an array of accidents that could have been prevented with the proper walking equipment and staff assistance.
Another serious issue that happens frequently in nursing homes is the unnecessary use of physical restraints. Physical restraints are any equipment or device that’s strapped to the resident’s body the deliberately prevents free range of body movement. Studies have shown that many nursing homes use restraints, especially on residents with problems such as dementia and behavioral problems, even without physician consent. Yet, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), residents with dementia, behavioral problems, and other cognitive disorders run the highest risks of injuries if placed in unneeded physical restraints. In fact, one of leading causes of broken bones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is the unnecessary use of physical restraints. Aside from broken bones, residents placed in restraints also run the risk of developing:
- Respiratory problems
- Impaired balance
- Impaired muscle strength
- Increased dependency in walking and moving
- Increased risk for head trauma and death
- Preventing Broken Bones in Nursing Homes
NIH recommends that nursing homes should find alternative measures to physical restraints, such as physical therapy activities and programs that help residents with range-of-motion problems. Equipment and furniture should be modified to accommodate needy residents, such as lowered bed that don’t require bed rails, raised toilet seats, adequate amount of staff members to properly help each resident, properly-fitted walking shoes, and an environment free of clutter and hazards.
Additionally, awareness needs to be raised concerning the dangers of not having a proper care plan for every nursing home resident. Far too often residents are getting injured because there is no proactive measures in place.
Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one have suffered broken bones because of negligence, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney may be able to assist you. At McIver Brown Law firm, our award-winning team of nursing home abuse lawyers have helped numerous clients win the maximum financial compensation they deserve. Give us a call today for a free consultation.