Fall injuries in nursing homes are the most common cause of head injury among nursing home residents. Elderly residents may slip or fall and suffer a head injury while:
- Being transferred from the bed to a wheelchair or other mobility aid
- Navigating private or public areas of the nursing home
- Getting in or out of a shower or bathtub
- Attempting to retrieve items on shelving
- Walking on sidewalks or grass areas on nursing home property
Not all head injuries in nursing homes are accidental. Physical abuse in nursing homes by caregivers, service providers, or family members can result in devastating injuries and cognitive impairment.
Physical injury is not the only danger to nursing home residents, either. Brain injury can occur when smothering clothing, improper body positioning, overmedicating, or other forms of nursing home neglect deprive a nursing home resident of oxygen.
What Are the Symptoms of Head Injuries in Nursing Homes?
Head injuries can be difficult to recognize in nursing home residents. Symptoms may mirror those of other conditions, so it is critical that suspected head injuries are investigated immediately by qualified medical professionals.
If you notice any of the following symptoms of traumatic brain injury, seek medical help immediately:
- Visible bruising, cuts, or other head wounds
- Short-term memory loss
- Vomiting or nausea
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty speaking or forming sentences
- Emotional changes
- Disrupted sleep patterns
When negligence or abuse lead to head injuries in nursing homes, compensation can aid in covering the expenses associated with recovery.
Who Is at Risk?
Nursing home residents are at a greater risk of falling than the general public. While nursing home administrators and caregivers are legally required to provide certain standards of care, residents may be afraid to speak out against those they rely upon for food, shelter, medication, and more. This means instances of nursing home abuse and neglect often go underreported.
Environmental factors can increase the risk of head injuries in nursing homes, as well. These include:
- Tripping hazards such as loose carpet edges or furniture encroaching in walkways
- Improper use (or lack of use) of patient lifts for transferring to beds, wheelchairs, shower chairs, dining chairs, etc.
- Heavy objects placed high on shelves or above a headboard
- Overworked or inattentive staff who provide improper care
Nursing home administrators are required to take steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of residents when such hazards are identified and reported to them.
What Type of Compensation Is Available to Victims of Head Injuries in Nursing Homes?
When a head injury is the result of an act of abuse or negligence, the person(s) responsible may be ordered to compensate the victim for:
- Emergency medical care and ambulance transportation
- Surgeries, pain medication, and other ongoing medical needs as a result of the injury
- Adaptive equipment and mobility aids to reduce the risk of re-injury
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disability
- Costs associated with a wrongful death resulting from a head injury, such as funeral and burial expenses and loss of consortium
The laws pertaining to personal injury in nursing homes vary by state and can be complex. We advocate for the rights of nursing home residents to safe, secure nursing care that respects their dignity. If a loved one suffered a head injury while in nursing home care, there may be compensation available to you.
The length of time you have to file a lawsuit varies. In each case, the sooner you can begin the process of exploring the full extent of the injury and documenting the circumstances that caused it, the more solid a case you can make for compensation.
As each case is unique, we offer a free initial consultation to help victims and their families understand their legal rights and the courses of action available to them. Call Rhett at 303-444-1618 to understand your rights.
Used with permission: https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.org