SI Elder Law LLC | Injuries in Nursing Homes

Investigating and Advocating for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims

Illinois Attorney for Nursing Home Injury Cases

Nursing Home Injuries Can Be Deadly for Elderly Residents

Failure to adequately take care of and meet the needs of nursing home residents (neglect) or actively doing harm to residents (physical abuse and mental abuse) can be disastrous for the health and well-being of the elderly and infirm. Older adults and/or those who suffer from chronic illnesses do not recover as readily from injury or illness and are in most cases certain to experience diminished capacity and premature death.

Do You Need a Nursing Home Injury Lawyer?

The attorneys of SI Elder Law are ready to help if you suspect that a Southern Illinois nursing home resident has suffered an injury because of abuse or neglect. We have the experience and resources to investigate potential nursing home abuse and neglect and, when substantiated, move swiftly to stop mistreatment and obtain medical assistance for the victim. We also work diligently to obtain compensation for injured seniors and their families.

Nursing Homes Obliged to ‘Do No Harm’ to Residents

Seniors who have had to move to nursing homes are there because they require care for chronic illness or injury. They will of course experience physical and mental decline as illnesses progresses and they age.

However, federal law says a nursing home resident’s health or well-being should not decline as a result of care provided by nursing home staff. When this occurs, it is likely the resident has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff or, in some cases, another resident of the home.

If a loved one of yours living in a nursing home or in a similar long-term care facility exhibits any of the injuries below, you should seek legal assistance right away. In Southern Illinois, SI Elder Law has the team you need to investigate your nursing home injury claim and, when mistreatment has occurred, secure compensation for your losses.

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Common Injuries in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases

People under the care of nursing homes and similar facilities are typically frailer than senior citizens who live in the private community, and are more likely to have physical or mental issues that make them dependent on staff for their care and well-being.

Lapses in providing appropriate care (neglect) or intentionally withholding care or inflicting harm (abuse) can lead to debilitating injury or death. In most case, it is up to a family member or friend to seek help for a nursing home resident before it is too late.

Among the more common injuries caused by abuse or neglect in a nursing home are:

Nursing Home Fall Injuries

Falling is a common cause of injury among the elderly, and is of major concern among those with mobility or balance issues, or impaired vision, or who take certain medications. Falls typically occur in nursing homes because a resident at risk of falling is not monitored or assisted a required. A fall may result in injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises, to sprains, strains, and fractures. Older bones are more likely to break, and a senior who falls can easily break an arm or leg.

However, two specific injuries are more likely to occur if a nursing home resident falls:

  • Hip Fractures. A hip fracture is a serious injury with complications that can be life-threatening. In most cases, surgery to repair or replace a broken hip with a prosthetic is required, which is followed by months of physical therapy.
  • Head Injuries. An elderly nursing home resident who hits their head in a fall is likely to suffer a concussion or a more severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This can cause intracranial bleeding, induce seizures and result in lasting cognitive impairment and other debilitating medical problems.

Bedsores are a Nursing Home Injury

Bedsores, also known as “pressure sores” or “pressure ulcers,” are caused by lying or sitting still for long periods of time. Advanced bed sores are known in the medical community as “never events,” meaning an individual who enters a nursing home or hospital without bed sores should never develop one that is allowed to progress to stage 3 or 4. Pressure sores occur through neglect of nursing home residents who cannot move themselves and need to be assisted or turned on a regular schedule.

Bed sores form as the constant pressure of the patient’s body first causes skin and then underlying tissue to break down. Pressure sores are more likely to develop where a person has little fat or muscle between skin and bone, such as at the spine, tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, heels and elbows. A bedsore starts as a tender spot, and if not treated promptly can become a painful bleeding wound that can eventually cause extensive damage to muscle and other surrounding tissue.

Infections from Nursing Home Injuries

Open wounds — such as bed sores — that are not properly treated can easily become infected. Infections that develop in a nursing home resident are known as a “healthcare-acquired infections” (HAIs) and are caused by negligence. HAIs typically occur because of unsanitary conditions or because nursing home staff members do not follow proper procedures. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), surgical site infections, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and other types of infections contracted in nursing homes are a major cause of hospitalization and death.

Choking in a Nursing Home

Dysphagia, the difficulty or inability to swallow, is a concern in patients who have suffered nerve or brain damage, such as caused by stroke or other TBI, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other illnesses. Some medications make it more difficult to swallow. Choking, or obstruction of the airway, can cause loss of consciousness and eventually, if breathing is not restored, the lack of oxygen (asphyxiation) will lead to brain damage or death.

Nursing home staff should be trained to understand the various degenerative diseases, injuries and medications that can cause or increase chewing or swallowing difficulties, and how to quickly recognize choking and to clear obstructed airways. Residents with choking risks should be monitored continually and assisted with food and beverages. Allowing a nursing home resident who is known to exhibit signs of dysphagia or to otherwise be at risk of choking to choke and become injured is neglect.

Burns can Happen in Nursing Homes due to Neglect

Burns may be caused by exposure to flame, scalding liquids, chemicals, electrical current, radiation (faulty x-ray equipment / procedures), sun (sunburn). Burn injuries may be accidental, but are likely because of neglectful lapses or abuse.

Bruises, Cuts, Scrapes, and Welts

Falling, banging into objects or being struck by objects can cause minor injuries, which are painful and should not happen to nursing home residents under the care of an attentive staff. Often such injuries are caused by neglect, or physical or sexual abuse, or the use of physical restraints.

Nursing Home Injuries Should Rouse Your Suspicion

Nursing home residents typically lead slow, mostly sedentary lives. There is little they do that should cause them to be injured, particularly if they are being properly cared for by staff. If a nursing home resident has suffered a physical injury or a sudden marked psychological decline, it is likely because of abuse (intentional harm) or neglect (not being effectively assisted or monitored).

Report Nursing Home Injuries Right Away to Protect Your Loved Ones

When a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected, that victim needs someone to step in and make it stop. Family and friends should question visible injuries and respond to residents’ complaints of abuse or mistreatment.

If there is any indication that a loved one of yours is being abused or neglected in a Southern Illinois nursing home, contact SI Elder Law for assistance today. We investigate allegations of elder abuse, and we can help put an end to maltreatment and get your loved one any medical help they need. We can also work to recover compensation for medical expenses and other costs, including relocation costs if necessary, and for the abuse or neglect victim’s pain and suffering. In cases of fatal nursing home abuse or neglect, we can recover funeral and burial expenses, and compensation for the family’s pain and suffering.

Don’t delay before reporting elder abuse in Illinois, a life could be in danger. Contact SI Elder Law for a free initial consultation today.

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