We put our elderly loved ones into nursing homes and into long-term care facilities expecting them to be safe and protected throughout their stay. According to US News, a third of the elderly residents in these homes who suffer from a fall hit their heads, leading to the potential for life-threatening medical complications.
Researchers looked into footage of close to 250 falls suffered by nearly 150 seniors in these homes and found that residents hit their head in more than 35 percent of the accidents. They hit their head on the floor more than 60 percent of the time, on the furniture close to 20 percent of the time and on a wall about 15 percent of the time.
Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse attorneys understand that the impact that occurs during these kinds of falls can be devastating. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant problem in older adults. On the other hand, young people hardly ever hit their head when they fall. In persons aged 65 and older, TBI is responsible for more than 80,000 emergency department visits each year; three-quarters of these visits result in hospitalization as a result of the injury, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
A traumatic brain injury’s direct effects, which may be long-lasting or even permanent, can include unconsciousness, inability to recall the traumatic event, confusion, difficulty learning and remembering new information, trouble speaking coherently, unsteadiness, lack of coordination and problems with vision or hearing.
-Mild head injury: You’re probably not going to see the damage on the outside of the head and you’re not going to lose consciousness. There may be complaints of a headache.
-Moderate head injury: There is going to be obvious damage to the outside of the head and you may lose consciousness for several moments. Expect complaints of confusion, nausea, vomiting, discolorations around the eyes, clear fluids out of the nose or memory loss.
-Severe head injury: In this case, there is going to be serious damage to the outside of the head. These injuries can involve the neck, arms or legs. In these cases, the victim is likely unconscious or barely responding. These people can also become physically aggressive. Some experience seizures.
Creating a safer environment is a great way to eliminate these risks. Consider adding a flooring sub-layer that is soft enough to cushion the impact but not so soft that it impairs balance. Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good. You can also have residents work on their lower body strength and supervise the type of shoes they’re wearing. Have regular checkups by an ophthalmologist to discern the extent of age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. Sneakers with sufficient grip are most recommended.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing facility, contact Freeman Injury Law for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Elderly Population Expected to Expand, Increasing Risks of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in West Palm Beach and Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, January 31, 2012
Staffing Cuts at Florida Nursing Homes Increase Risk of Nursing Home Neglect in Pompano Beach, Statewide, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, October 24, 2011