Broken Bones in Nursing Homes

If a loved one has suffered an unexplained broken bone while in a nursing home facility, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on the basis of abuse or neglect. Levin & Perconti can help. Speak with one of our personal injury attorneys today.

For elderly nursing home patients, the consequences of broken bones can be devastating. These injuries often result in a loss of mobility and independence and a decline in overall health.

Broken bones, also known as bone fractures, can even increase death rate. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed broken bones increased the risk of death for older people for up to 10 years.

While residents may suffer broken bones due to preventable falls and collisions, unexplained bone injuries may result from physical abuse or neglect by nursing home staff members.

If you believe your loved one has suffered an unexplained fracture due to nursing home abuse or neglect, Levin & Perconti can help. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have represented many elderly abuse and neglect victims, and we can fight for you too.

Causes of Broken Bones in Nursing Home Patients

Broken bones pose a critical threat to elderly nursing home patients. Though many contributing risk factors, all broken bones are ultimately caused by excessive force on the bone.

Various medical risk factors make older adults—particularly those who live in nursing homes—especially susceptible to injuries:

  • Osteoporosis, an age-related condition, can cause bones to thin and become increasingly fragile, making them more likely to break.
  • Mobility problems that require seniors to use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs can increase likeliness to fall.
  • Muscle weakness can lead to balance and stability problems, increasing the risk of falls.
  • Medications, such as sedatives and tranquilizers, can cause dizziness and impair balance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of four older people fall annually. Approximately 20% of these falls result in serious injuries, including broken bones.

When family members discover unexplained broken bones, they must act to get answers and ensure their loved ones receive timely and proper care to successfully heal. Nursing home falls that cause broken bones are often preventable if staff members take the proper steps to supervise and protect residents under their care.

Common Types of Bone Fractures

Health care providers classify a bone fracture by its pattern, location, or cause. Common types of nursing home fractures include:

  • Compression fractures are small breaks or cracks in the vertebrae and are often caused by a loss of bone mass, known as osteoporosis. A cough or fall can exacerbate the problem.
  • Stress fractures, also known as hairline fractures, are tiny cracks in the bone. Repetitive motion or overuse usually causes them, often occurring in the foot, ankle, or lower leg.
  • Traumatic fractures occur when extreme or significant force is applied to a bone. A broken bone resulting from a fall is primarily categorized as a traumatic fracture.

Hip Fractures

Hip fractures caused by falls are among the most serious and life-threatening injuries that elderly patients can suffer. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Journals of Gerontology, the statistics of fall-related hip injuries for senior citizens are sobering:

  • For adults aged 65 and over, falls account for more than 95 percent of hip injuries.
  • Each year, at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fracture injuries.
  • One in every three nursing home residents dies within 180 days of a hip fracture.

Additional Bone Fractures

Hip fractures may be the most common for nursing home patients to experience, but other injuries can still happen:

  • Skull or Facial Fractures
  • Ankle fracture
  • Arm fracture
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Pelvic fracture
  • Thigh fracture

How to Prevent Broken Bones in Nursing Homes

Nursing home staff play an important role in protecting the safety of residents as they move about the facility. When a patient is admitted into a nursing home, staff must assess his or her risks for falls and identify and implement interventions to address these risks. Reassessments should occur after any fall or change in medication. Additional preventative measures include:

  • Mop up wet or slippery substances on floors to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall injuries.
  • Repair uneven surfaces and keep walkways free of clutter and obstructions.
  • Install bright lighting in all areas of the nursing home, including hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms.
  • Install bed rails, handrails, and non-slip bath mats.
  • Assist residents who need help getting in and out of bed, standing up, sitting down, and walking.

A nursing home should be a safe space for the elderly population. Residents at risk should be monitored closely and receive assistance with transfers to prevent them from falling. If a loved one has sustained an unexplained broken bone, you have the right to demand answers. Our nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help.

Unexplained Broken Bones May Indicate Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

According to the National Council on Aging, nearly five million older people are abused yearly. Two factors that make an older adult especially vulnerable to abuse are mental impairment and social isolation.

From 2012 to 2050, the United States is expected to experience substantial growth in its older population. Statistics show that the percentage of abuse will also continue to increase.

While physical abuse is the cause of many injuries in long-term care facilities, neglect can also contribute to unexplained injuries. Innovation in Aging reports that 20 to 30 percent of falls in long-term care facilities are preventable. Nursing homes should take the necessary precautions to prevent falls by encouraging residents to use nonskid footwear, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs and providing assistance when needed.

Warning Signs of Abuse or Neglect

The signs that a loved one may have suffered broken bones due to nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Unexplained fractures: If an elderly nursing home resident is unwilling or afraid to explain an injury, that may be a sign of abuse.
  • Multiple broken bones in different stages of healing: This may be a sign that patients are not receiving proper care and are at risk for further injury.
  • Bone fractures that don’t heal properly: Injuries that take an unusually long time to heal may also signify medical neglect.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Under the Code of Federal Regulations, nursing homes are required to report allegations of abuse and neglect immediately. The appropriate authorities will investigate all allegations.

Nursing Homes and Negligence

Falls in nursing homes are often a sign of nursing home negligence and understaffing. When nursing staff cannot properly supervise and monitor residents, fall-related injuries are more likely to occur. An act of negligence, neglect, or abuse on the premises of a nursing home that results in harm to a resident, such as a broken bone, is grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the facility. Situations that can be considered negligent:

  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards
  • Negligent supervision
  • Neglect of a resident
  • Understaffing

Proving liability can be complex, and tackling it on your own is not advised. The best place to start is to contact our law firm.

How Levin & Perconti Can Help

Do you suspect your loved one has suffered a fractured bone due to nursing home abuse or neglect? If the facility’s staff tried to convince you that the injury was due to an unavoidable accident or fall, you might want to get a second opinion.

At Levin & Perconti, our award-winning team of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers has more than three decades of experience fighting for the rights of senior citizens and their families. We have a proven track record of success and have recovered multi-million-dollar results in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

We offer free, no-obligation consultations if you want to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. To schedule your free legal consultation, please contact us today. We will review your claim and advise you of your legal options free of charge.

$1,400,000

Verdict

for failure to manage a nursing home resident’s behavior which caused a shoving match, fall, hip fracture and death of a 79 year old fellow nursing home resident.

$690,000

Settlement

on behalf of the family of an 87-year-old resident who suffered a right femur fracture, skin breakdown and a bone infection which led to her death.

$510,000

Settlement

for the family of a 78-year-old resident who repeatedly took off her personal alarm, fell on her way to the bathroom and fractured her hip and died four months later from heart problems.

FAQs: Broken Bones and Nursing Home Lawsuits

According to Patient, complications related to bone fractures can include:

  • Bone infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of mobility
  • Decreased quality of life

For elderly nursing home residents, it can take six to 12 weeks for a broken bone to heal. However, some older adults may have underlying health conditions that can delay healing. Additionally, some fractures may require surgery to heal correctly. Oftentimes these injuries result in further medical issues or in some cases permanent disability. For older people, fractures can greatly reduce their quality of life and cause their overall medical condition to deteriorate rapidly.

Yes. Sepsis is a severe complication that occurs when an infection spreads through the body. It can be deadly if not treated quickly. Elderly nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to sepsis because their immune systems are often weaker.

Personal injury lawsuits against nursing homes generally take several months to several years to resolve depending on the unique factors of the case. Our team of attorneys will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.

At Levin & Perconti, we understand that many families struggle financially due to the high cost of long-term care. We offer free consultations so you can learn about your legal options without worrying about the price.

If we take your case, we will do so on a contingency basis. That means you won’t have to pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you.

If your loved one died due to their injuries, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing facility. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can advise you of your legal options.

The total damages you can recover in your lawsuit depends on your case’s specific facts and circumstances. For example, if your loved one requires surgery or long-term care due to their injuries, you may be able to recover the cost of those medical expenses. These are called economic damages.

You may also be able to recover non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other intangible costs.

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