Fractured or broken bones are very common. It is one of the most frequently occurring injuries in all age groups, though the elderly are at greatest risk of serious harm with these injuries. They also are more at risk of having broken bones from falls. 95% of hip fractures in the elderly are caused by falling, typically falling to the side. Naturally, it is not always possible to prevent these types of injuries. Yet, your loved ones should be cared for and assisted at all times to minimize the likelihood of a fall and fracture. The real question arises when your loved one has an unexplained fracture while staying in a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home. If the fracture is unexplained, then it could be a sign of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse, both of which are real and serious problems for residents.
Which Type of Bone Fracture Does Your Loved One Have?
There are different types of fractures that your loved one may be suffering from, and this can give you some clue as to how the injury occurred. There are traumatic fractures, compression fractures, and stress fractures, that all occur in different ways and often in different places.
Traumatic fractures are caused by an actual injury, usually from falling down. This is particularly common among
children, because they are prone to falling from heights when climbing trees and playground equipment or falling from a bike, for example. It becomes common again as a person reaches their old age because the bones are more fragile. For this reason, a fall that might not usually cause a broken bone, could cause a serious fracture in someone who is older, making nursing home residents among the most susceptible to such injuries. These residents are also more at risk of falling as they lose coordination and find it more difficult to get around on their own.
Compression fractures are also called spontaneous fractures because they happen without a direct cause. This is the kind of fracture that seems to happen out of nowhere and is particularly common for individuals who have osteoporosis, a condition which weakens the bones.
Stress fractures are usually very small bone cracks that are caused by things like repetitive motion injuries. These frequently happen in the legs and the feet. They can be treated quickly and addressed to prevent further damage. They are particularly painful and involve a lot of swelling, and they can grow much worse if not treated appropriately.
It is evident from these descriptions that nursing home residents can suffer from bone fractures that are not anybody’s fault. Yet, if the nursing home doesn’t notice and address the injuries, they can become much more severe, and this is an indication of nursing home neglect. Unexplained traumatic fractures could also indicate nursing home abuse, particularly when they are not to a part of the body that would commonly be injured when they fall.
Could the Charleston, South Carolina, Nursing Home Be Liable for Your Loved Ones Bone Fracture?
Many bone fractures happen without anyone being at fault for the injury. Compression and stress fractures are perfect examples of this. Sometimes, the elderly will fall down and end up with traumatic fractures, despite being cared for and having precautions taken to prevent this. Yet, it is the responsibility of the nursing home to take those precautions and to identify injuries when they occur. If the nursing home did not take the necessary precautions to prevent falls or if your loved ones fracture has gone untreated for any period of time, then this is an indication of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Sometimes, these situations arise from nursing homes being understaffed, so that there isn’t anyone available to help your loved one get from one place to another or to respond to a fall. Some of the worst cases involve nursing home residents falling down and not being responded to or discovered for any length of time until a member of the staff comes to check on them or care for them. There are many cases where the nursing home is legally liable for such injuries.
Most Frequent Causes of Bone Fractures in Charleston, South Carolina, Nursing Homes
There are many different possible causes of your loved one’s bone fracture, and identifying the cause is an important part of establishing whether or not the nursing home is responsible. There are environmental hazards, issues with medication and chemical restraints, and malfunctioning equipment.
Close to one-third of all nursing home falls are caused by environmental hazards, such as wet floors, poor lighting, and trip hazards. Then, there are the injuries that are caused by the resident being over medicated or chemically restrained. When someone is chemically restrained, this means that they are given enough medication to sedate them, effectively restraining them. If someone tries to get up and move about while they are overmedicated or chemically restrained, then this could result in a fall. Then, you have the issue of malfunctioning equipment or the failure to use necessary safety equipment. For example, if there are bed rails, they need to be placed in the right position. If they break, then your loved one could fall out of bed. Then, there are the lifts that nurses work with to help lift patients. If they break or are used incorrectly, then again, a fall could result.
Restraints Can Often Prevent Nursing Home Injuries in Charleston, South Carolina
When we talk about restraints, many people get an uncomfortable image of someone being abused, strapped to a bed, or powerfully medicated until they cannot do anything. While restraints can be abused, they can also be a necessary part of keeping your loved one safe. It all depends on the situation and what kind of condition your loved one is in mentally and emotionally. In many cases, restraints prevent nursing home residents from harming themselves or others. Yet, it is essential to understand that restraints should not be over-used. They are a very frequent cause of injuries, including fractures.
Contact the David Aylor Law Offices to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
If you suspect that your loved one has been injured through neglect or abuse at a Charleston, South Carolina, nursing home facility, contact the attorneys at the David Aylor Law Offices to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about your options and how we can help.