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Gerontology Injuries: What To Look Out For?

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Madeleine Jones
January 17, 2022

An elderly man with Alzheimer’s leaving his nursing home in an ambulance after less than a month with bruises and broken bones is a sign of nursing home abuse. Gerontology injuries remain an all too common issue at nursing homes, and some may be caused by abuse. Luckily, you and your family can take legal action if your loved one was injured in their nursing home. 

What Is a Gerontology Injury?

A gerontology injury is any form of physical harm that an elderly person suffers.

As people age, their risk to suffer certain injuries, like severe infections and falls, increases. To reduce the risk of gerontology injury, families may admit their loved ones to a nursing home so they have 24/7 care.

However, elderly people can still suffer severe injuries in nursing homes. In way too many cases, their injuries come from nursing home abuse. This type of abuse can leave our elderly population traumatized or worse, permanently disabled.

Common Gerontology Injuries:

The most common gerontology injuries, in and out of nursing homes, are:

  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Falls
  • Bedrail injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Concussions
  • Infections

Nursing home staff members who neglect or abuse residents do the complete opposite of what their job asks them to do: help the elderly live out their lives with dignity and comfort. And these unfit staff members should be held liable for their actions.

Causes of Gerontology Injuries at Nursing Homes

A gerontology injury can occur by a number of different causes. Some of these injuries could be a simple accident, like when a resident falls and breaks a bone. However, staff members at nursing homes can cause injuries by neglecting or assaulting the residents. Staff may also be at fault if the victim was harmed by another resident of the nursing home that has violent tendencies.

The following are the most common causes of gerontology injuries:

Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse at nursing homes can cause gerontology injuries if a staff members assault – punch or kick– an elderly resident. Whenever injuries take place by nursing home abuse, hidden cameras can help reveal what really happened. It is common for assisted living facilities to claim that injuries happen from falls.

Nursing Home Neglect

Neglect at nursing homes is definitely not an accident or a simple mistake. It is a long-term failure to take care of a resident’s wellbeing and health that leads to serious injuries or even wrongful death. For example, let’s say a woman died because of the staff members failing to treat her scabies problem. An investigation could prove that her condition was left untreated for months or even years.

Types of Gerontology Injuries

Gerontology injuries at nursing homes can really vary depending on different factors such as the resident’s care needs and how staff members treat them.

Bedsores

Commonly known as pressure ulcers, bedsores can happen when a resident lies down in the same position for a long period of time, causing necrosis, infections, and skin damage. Bedsores can threaten a resident’s life if the staff allows the sores to be left untreated. According to the CDC, 2% to 28% of elderly residents suffer from bedsores.

Broken Bones

As nursing home residents get older, their bones get weaker and weaker and that puts them at risk for neck and hip fractures. The CDC says that over 300,000 seniors go to the emergency room every year for broken hips. 

Fractures and Falls

According to the CDC, fall accidents are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older. Falls can cause broken bones, spinal injuries, or concussions.

Bedrail Injuries

Bedrails are often used at nursing homes to keep the residents from falling from their beds. However, bedrails often put them in great danger. For example, a resident can get stuck between the bedrail and the mattress, which can lead to suffocation, cardiac arrest, or breathing problems. 

Spinal Injuries 

Spinal injuries can prevent the brain from sending signals to other parts of the body. Spinal cord injuries are linked to health issues such as loss of bowel control, paralysis, and difficulty breathing.

A spinal injury can vary depending on where exactly the spine was damaged. Since signals are sent by the brain down the spinal column, many other body parts can be affected if the injury takes place higher up on the spine.

Concussions

A concussion is not usually life-threatening, but it can definitely cause long-term health issues. Geriatric people also take longer to recover from any concussion. Concussions can be sustained after falls. 

Infections

According to the CDC, around 1 to 3 million infections happen every year in nursing homes. They can kill up to 40,000 nursing home residents every year. Among the most common infections are pneumonia and influenza. Whenever a staff member fails to prevent infections, they can be held liable if they lead to other issues or death.

Preventing Gerontology Injuries

While nursing homes are supposed to have protocols to protect their residents, they may not be enough to keep everyone safe. In cases like these, family members may take action to make sure their loved one doesn’t continue to suffer in their nursing home.

The most common ways of preventing gerontology injuries are:

  • Choosing a nursing home with a good track record for professionalism and safety
  • Make sure residents have the proper equipment, like a walker or wheelchairs, if they need them
  • Taking note of any nursing home abuse signs and reporting them
  • Regularly visiting residents to make sure their needs are being met
  • Updating staff members about the resident’s needs change with time

It is very important to remember that the nursing home staff members also have a responsibility to prevent gerontology injuries. If they fail to do so, you may be able to hold them liable through legal action.

Nursing Home Injury Laws 

Federal and state laws have been put in place to keep nursing home residents safe from gerontology injuries, abuse, and neglect.

In Nevada, nursing home laws require that each patient gets a plan of care that covers everything including methods to facilitate objectives for treatments, timetables, and patient goals. This plan must be prepared by physicians and the nursing home staff. Family members, the patient itself, and legal representatives are included as well. This plan of care must be comprehensive and cover every mental, physical, emotional, and medical need.

If you believe a nursing home facility has violated any law and your loved one was hurt, as a result, contact the authorities and a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers In Las Vegas

By working side by side with a personal injury attorney, families can pursue financial compensation for a nursing home injury. While a family may have been ready to pay for a nursing home, they may not be able to pay for medical expenses needed to treat an unexpected injury. Especially one that was caused by abuse or neglect.

To that end, our nursing home abuse lawyers at Cogburn Law can help families recover compensation to pay for medical care or funeral expenses by filing a lawsuit against those responsible. Call us today at (702) 748-7777 for a free initial consultation.

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A few years ago we decided to move my grandfather into a nursing home. It was hard to leave him there but thought it would be the best for him, he would get the care we could no longer give him. But about 6 months ago we started noticing how neglected he seemed to be every time we visited. He was skinnier, didn’t seem to be eating well, didn’t look as clean, and just overall not the same. After talking to a friend, he recommended getting in touch with Cogburn Law. I spoke with Jamie Cogburn and found out we could file a lawsuit against the nursing home. He was amazing and really cared about making it right for my grandfather. We actually received compensation some months later which helped to pay for the new nursing home. We will definitely be recommending Cogburn Law to our friends and family

Mike R.