Watching a loved one age is a difficult process. A person you relied upon when you were most vulnerable now needs your help, and there are many challenging questions and considerations to deal with as you notice a decline in physical and mental health.
We can do our best to assist our loved one with staying healthy and socially active – two incredibly essential things to overall well-being – but we may eventually face the painful decision to place an elderly relative in a nursing home or assisted living facility. This comes with its own problems, especially if the individual is resistant to the idea of moving away from their beloved home and community.
Even more concerning is the fact that some nursing homes may turn out to be neglectful, which can lead to serious injuries. As such, it’s essential that you vet a loved one’s future facility carefully, with an eye to safety and attentive care. However, accidents can happen even in the best facility, and you must understand these potential risks. Here are some considerations when it comes to one of the most common nursing home injuries – and how you can receive justice if a loved one is harmed while being treated in a facility.
One of the most common – and deadly – injuries in a nursing home is hip fractures
While we often think of the knee when we think about locomotion, the hip joints are just as important, if not more. These joints supply most of the power when we walk, and as such they need to be protected as much as possible.
Hip fractures are particularly dangerous in elderly patients because they can lead to a number of serious complications that can be life-threatening, especially in those who are already frail or have other underlying health issues. Some of the reasons why hip fractures are so deadly in elderly patients include the following.
Decreased mobility: After a hip fracture, it can be difficult for elderly patients to move around, which can lead to muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass. This can increase the risk of falls and further injuries.
Pneumonia: Elderly patients who are bedridden or immobile for extended periods of time after a hip fracture are at increased risk of developing pneumonia due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Blood clots: Being immobilized after a serious injury also places a person at increased risk of developing blood clots in their legs, which can lead to pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening condition where a blood clot travels to the lungs.
Infection: Hip fractures can be an entry point for bacteria, which can lead to infection. As the immune system weakens as we age, the elderly are particularly susceptible to infections, which can be more difficult to treat than in younger individuals.
Surgery risks: Surgery to repair a hip fracture carries risks, particularly in elderly patients who may have other health issues.
Overall, hip fractures can be a serious and life-threatening condition in elderly patients due to a combination of mobility issues, complications, and other health factors. This is not something to take lightly, and if your loved one suffers a hip fracture in a nursing home, it’s essential that you seek professional help to advocate for you and your family.
A personal injury lawyer can help you receive justice for a loved one’s hip fracture
If your loved one suffers a hip fracture while residing in a nursing home, there are resources available to pursue justice. One of these is consulting with a personal injury lawyer specializing in nursing home accidents, including hip fractures.
A personal injury lawyer will review your case first by understanding the circumstances around the accident, particularly as it relates to patient safety within the nursing home. For example, did the nursing home have adequate staff to support patients throughout their day? Were the staff attentive enough, especially with those who are a major fall risk? Does the facility have adequate protections in place for patients, such as guardrails in bathrooms to help stabilize those who might be a fall risk?
If it’s found that the nursing home did not adequately protect their patients against potentially fatal hip fractures, the personal injury can negotiate a settlement for you and your family. The nursing home and its insurers will attempt to talk you down to the smallest settlement possible, and you may be tempted to simply accept the money; however, personal injury lawyers know what is a fair settlement and will advocate for the appropriate payment. They will also consider any future costs associated with this accident, whether that is surgery, physical therapy, or funeral expenses – things you may not have even considered while caring for your loved one.
It’s terrifying to find that a loved one has suffered a hip fracture, especially when in the care of people who are supposed to protect and care for them. These injuries can be life-threatening and difficult to treat, which is why it’s essential that you determine why this happened and who may be to blame. You should not be responsible for paying medical bills that are due to negligence or abuse by nursing home staff. Contact a personal injury attorney immediately, and allow them to advise you on the next steps.