Each year, one in four people over 65 fall at least once, and many of these victims sustain serious injuries, like broken bones and head injuries. Certain physical issues, such as Vitamin D deficiency, limited vision, medication side-effects, and a hazardous walking surface, multiply the risks exponentially.
Nursing homes have a duty of care to prevent their patients from being injured, especially when it comes to everyday activities like moving from a bed to a wheelchair. So, many nursing homes follow legal protocols when performing such operations. A failure to follow established guidelines is clear evidence of fault in negligence cases.
Types of Transfers
Many residents are in long-term care facilities, at least in part, due to mobility impairment. Therefore, staff members must do whatever possible to prevent falls during procedures like:
- Bed to Wheelchair: Inspecting the surroundings, like the physical condition of the wheelchair and the rugs on the floor, is one of the most important, and most overlooked, steps in these transfers.
- Wheelchair to Bath: Many falls occur in bathrooms, so staff must be especially diligent during such transfers.
- Hoyer Lift Falls: To lessen the physical strain on staff and residents, many nursing homes use hydraulic lifts to move patients, at least in some situations. If they are not used properly or working properly, these devices can cause serious injury.
- Chair to Chair: Many residents break their hips when they stand because they use their legs for additional leverage, and many staff members are not as cognizant of this danger as they should be.
In many cases, normal medical protocol requires that two or more staff members assist a resident during these and other transfers.
Many nursing home fall victims are already in a somewhat frail physical condition before the incident. To make matters worse, they are often in elevated positions and sometimes unable to break their falls. This combination usually results in serious injuries like:
- Broken Bones: These wounds often require extensive and painful surgical correction and long-term physical therapy.
- Brain Injury: Often, the jostling alone (like a raw egg sloshing against an eggshell) is sufficient to cause permanent injury, including personality changes, loss of function, and even death.
- Internal Bleeding: Emergency responders are often preoccupied with outside trauma injuries to the point that they neglect internal injuries.
In addition to compensation for medical bills, victims and their families normally receive compensation for their pain and suffering.
If you believe your loved one was injured due to being dropped in a nursing home, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today.