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Concussions, Brain Injuries From Falls in Nursing Homes Occurring at “Unprecedented” Rates

U.S. government researchers have discovered elderly people – and nursing home residents in particular – are suffering alarming rates of concussions and brain injuries. 

Although the exact reason isn’t clear, some opine it has to do with the fact that those who are suffering repeated falls aren’t copping to it. Those who have suffered one fall are more likely to suffer another, and the odds are greater that the next fall will be more severe. But some elderly people may fear that admitting to a fall means they will lose their independence. In turn, they minimize it. Or, in the case of nursing home residents, the fall simply isn’t deemed serious enough for immediate medical attention.

However, what could appear to be a minor incident might actually be much more serious. It could be a concussion. It could even be a traumatic brain injury. In either case, the chances of another fall will be increased. 

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2013, 1 in every 45 people over the age of 75 suffered a brain injury that:

  • Necessitated treatment in an emergency department;
  • Required hospitalization OR;
  • Resulted in death.

Researchers weren’t actually looking to specifically single out this older cohort. Rather, they were examining the issue of brain injuries among the general population. They found that car accident brain injuries were down, but brain injuries related to suicide attempts were up.

But the bigger issue they stumbled upon was this issue with brain injuries among the elderly. The rate of brain injury for this group spiked by a stunning 76 percent between 2007 and 2014. Meanwhile, the rate of brain injury for all people rose by 36 percent. That was an overall record.

Of course, our nursing home injury lawyers recognize that falls among elderly residents are far more common than they should be. This is due to a variety of factors, such as poor vision, increased dizziness and a host of medical ailments that can cause a person to feel off-balance or destabilized. They are also less likely to have the strength or agility to get to their feet once they do lose their balance. However, those who reside in nursing homes may be at even higher risk because patients there may have a false sense of security.

Nursing homes are expected to provide adequate and proper assistance for residents in completing tasks like getting in and out of bed, toileting, bathing and more. When they do not do this, falls become more common. In fact, a number of serious falls involve nursing home residents who can’t even walk. These cases highlight very clear issues of negligence.

The CDC reports 27,000 Americans die annually as a result of falls, and this was a top cause of death among elderly people. But even those who already knew these facts find the new statistics startling.

Researchers noted a single fall can lead to numerous other problems. In fact, another study conducted recently revealed that one-third of elderly people who are brought to the emergency room with minor head injuries come back to the emergency room within three months.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Head injuries, concussions from falls rising fast among seniors, study finds, March 17, 2017, Associated Press

More Blog Entries:

U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Nursing Home Arbitration, March 29, 2017, Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Blog

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