Elder abuse is the mistreatment of senior citizens— who are aged 65 and older. Mistreatment of the elderly can come in many forms: abuse (physical, verbal, sexual), neglect, exploitation, and abandonment. The elderly are a very vulnerable group because they are seen as weak, frail, and forgetful so abusers believe that they will get away with this mistreatment. Falls, stumbles, and slips can result in a variety of accidents in a nursing home. Sadly, neglect or mistreatment of the elderly can sometimes result in injury. You may frequently be aware of your loved one’s vulnerability or other situations that could lead to accidental falls. Yet, if these flaws or situations are not recognized, it is likely that your elderly relative was abused in a care home, leading to a nursing home injury. Nursing homes offer 24-hour care by trained experts to elderly and disabled family members who are unable to receive it at home.
When you commit a loved one to a nursing home, you have faith that the establishment will take good care of them, oversee their daily activities
A specific type of elder abuse is nursing home abuse, since the majority of nursing home residents are elders. Many injuries are common in nursing homes, and here’s a look at the most common injuries and also why they may occur and how they can be prevented.
The abuse of nursing home residents can be physical, verbal, or even sexual in nature. Statistics show that more than 27% of nursing home residents reported being physically abused by nursing home staff— though not every case gets reported. What’s even more alarming is that the WHO (World Health Organization) found that more than 64% of nursing home workers admitted to abusing and/or neglecting their patients. Some have even turned a blind eye to other staff members abusing patients, when nurses should be advocates for their patients.
Abuse in nursing homes is more likely to occur in some situations than it is in others. For example, abuse is more likely to occur in poor-quality nursing homes that are understaffed and/or overcrowded. Elders who are female, poorer, and have health issues are also at an increased risk of being abused.
#2: Bed Sores
One of the most well-known injuries linked to nursing home incompetence is certainly this one. Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, arise when a person with reduced movement spends a longer amount of time immobile in the same position. As a result, there may be serious skin injury that results in open sores that are susceptible to infection.
When nursing home patients develop a bed sore, it usually means that they have limited mobility and were neglected by the staff for hours at a time. These sores form on areas like the lower back, buttocks, and ankles, and they can eat away at the flesh and even the bones. These painful sores can become severely infected and even lead to sepsis and death.
Nursing home staff mustn’t neglect their patients with limited mobility for this reason. Bed sores are 100% preventable when patients receive proper care. If bed sores do occur on a resident, action should be taken at the first signs so that infections and death can be prevented.
Slip and fall accidents are the most common injuries among those over the age of 65. This is because our bones, joints, and muscles weaken as we age, so our balance decreases and we’re also at a higher risk of fractures at this age. Elder falls can lead to:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal injuries
Elder falls in nursing homes can also be a sign of abuse and neglect, especially if they happen frequently. Since they can be prevented, nursing home staff should do everything they can to ensure their patients remain safe. This includes proper supervision, installing grab bars in high-risk areas (like bathrooms), and making sure there’s proper lighting, as limited vision can also lead to a fall.
In nursing facilities, , falling is a frequent issue. Due to their decreased postural control, potential medication interactions, and environmental risks at the facility, elderly persons are more likely to fall. Elderly nursing home residents who do fall are more likely to sustain serious injuries such broken bones, head trauma, wounds, or bruising.
#4: Medication Errors
Medication errors occur when nursing home staff give patients the wrong medication, too much/too little medication, or when medication is administered incorrectly or given at the wrong time. This is another type of neglect that can occur in nursing homes, due to tired staff and/or poorly trained staff members. When a patient isn’t given their own medication in the correct form, they can suffer from serious illness, injury, and even death.
These mistakes may have tragic repercussions. A patient of a nursing home may receive the incorrect medication, the incorrect dosage of the correct prescription, too much, or not enough of a specific drug from the nursing staff. Medication mistakes can be extremely problematic for nursing home residents, regardless of the circumstances.
#5: Wrongful Death
If it hasn’t been made clear, all of the above forms of abuse and neglect can result in the death of a nursing home resident. This is devastating for the family of these victims, both emotionally and financially. Of course deaths in a nursing home can be the result of natural causes, but signs of abuse and/or neglect in a victim who has died will raise many questions. You can learn more about nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits with Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers.
All of the injuries listed above can be prevented in nursing homes. Staff members should be held accountable for their actions, both accidental and intentional. Nursing homes should also make sure that they’re fully staffed at all times and that all staff is properly trained. Family members can also help protect their loved ones by choosing quality homes for their loved ones, making frequent visits to the home, and reporting any signs of abuse they may witness.