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Common Injuries in Nursing Homes & How To Prevent Them

  • May 19, 2023
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Common Injuries in Nursing Homes & How To Prevent Them

Nursing home residents experience a high rate of injuries. Residents are more likely to be in a nursing home because of limited mobility or chronic medical conditions, which can contribute to an increase in accidents. Understanding the most common injuries in a nursing home can help you learn to prevent them and keep your loved one safe.

Here are a few of the most common injuries in nursing homes:

Concussions

Slip and falls are common in nursing homes, some of which may lead to a concussion. Seniors may slip and fall when getting in and out of bed. They may also slip while in the bathroom, potentially hitting the shower wall, door, or toilet. One of the biggest risks of a concussion is that they’re not always easy to identify. The signs of a concussion may include confusion, headache, dizziness, or mood changes. Nursing home staff may attribute these changes to medication side effects or dementia.

Bed Sores

Bed Sores develop when blood flow is unable to get to a certain body part for an extended period of time. The skin begins dying off, and it develops painful blisters. If left untreated, the bedsores can become infected. Nursing home residents are more likely to have bedsores since they may be left in their beds with limited mobility. Bedsores are preventable. Nursing home staff should frequently change bedridden patients’ positions. When possible, nursing home staff should help residents stand up to relieve pressure from likely bedsore points.

Infection

Infection is also a possibility in nursing homes. Nursing homes hold multiple residents at one time, with many sharing rooms. Certain diseases can easily move among residents. Additionally, residents who are bedridden can develop infection from untreated bedsores. Prompt treatment of bedsores is crucial to avoid infection. Failing to treat an infection can worsen a resident’s condition.

Fractures

Fractures or broken bones are also a possibility in nursing homes. Residents who fall may fracture or break their bones. Fractured or broken hips are one of the most common injuries in a nursing home, which commonly occur from a resident falling out of their bed. Seniors have weaker bones, which means a high rate of falls will lead to fractured or broken bones. However, certain safety protocols should still be put in place in nursing homes to avoid injury.

This includes proper lighting, safety guard rails, and walkways and bedrooms free of barriers. Slippery floors can also be a safety risk for nursing home residents.

A man who slipped on a wet floor beside a bright yellow caution sign holds his back in pain

How to Prevent Nursing Home Injuries

Seniors are at a higher risk of injury. They have weaker bones, less mobility, and may be taking medications that affect their balance. Evaluating your loved one’s living conditions is one of the first things that you can do to keep them safe. Make sure all bedrails and bathroom rails are tightly secured to the wall. Ensure that the floors are non-stick and that your loved one has shoes or slippers that are also non-slip.

A nursing home resident’s room and common areas should also be free of barriers. Cluttered or crowded rooms can make it difficult for seniors to get around, especially if they’re in a wheelchair or use a walker. Loose floorboards and carpets can also be dangerous for seniors in a nursing home. A thorough evaluation of any nursing home you’re considering for a loved one is key to keeping them safe. Make sure you check out Chicago, Illinois, nursing home reviews before moving your loved one into their new home.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all nursing homes create a fall prevention program. This program should include screening for fall risk, identifying individual risk factors, intervening to prevent falls, and continually re-evaluating. They even recommend connecting with external sources to ensure all nursing home rooms are safe for residents.

Who’s Fault Is It When a Nursing Home Resident Is Injured?

It’s not always easy to place blame when a nursing home resident suffers an injury. Some accidents are just that, an accident. Other accidents, however, may be due to negligence. When you choose a nursing home over home care, you expect them to promote a safe and hazard-free living environment for your loved one. When they don’t, they may be liable for negligence.

The first thing to do following a loved one’s injury in a nursing home is to get them the medical care they need. Then, it’s important to find out what happened so you can avoid further injuries. If you believe that negligence or abuse was involved in the accident, it’s important to take immediate action. Notify the state board and consider talking with a personal injury lawyer.

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