Negligence in nursing homes often stems from overworked staff, crowded facilities, and improper treatment. Although you, as a visiting family member, can spot this with certain signs, including physical and behavioral changes, negligence manifests itself further as life-changing injuries.
Medication errors, not monitoring residents’ eating habits, and restraint have potential to result in the following common conditions:
1. Bed and Pressure Sores
These are lesions on the body resulting from constant pressure on bony parts. They’re more likely to be on the sacrum, coccyx, ankles, elbows, or heels. Blood flow decreases to these areas, killing bodily tissue in the process.
Often a sign of meningitis, this condition indicates a blood infection. White blood cells become overwhelmed by a high presence of bacteria. Residents will display a fever, chills, fast breathing, or a rapid heartbeat.
3. Restraint Injuries
Physical and chemical restraints frequently come with excessive force. What may result are fractures, internal bleeding, a head injury, strangulation, or death.
4. Malnutrition and Dehydration
Workers in a home are required to monitor a resident’s eating and drinking habits. When this doesn’t happen, residents are more susceptible to falls, infections, weakened muscles, and depression. As well, poor nutrition may be a sign a resident has difficulty swallowing or taking medication.
Tying into the point above, choking may result when residents’ eating and drinking habits aren’t monitored. These patients likely have difficulty chewing and swallowing, and as a result, end up choking on their food or medication.
6. Blocked Breathing Tubes
This condition means a resident’s breathing is obstructed, which can result in brain damage or death.
A range of conditions in a nursing home may lead to potentially fatal or life-altering burn injuries: smoking, water that’s too hot, scalding food and drinks, spills, and fires.
8. Medication Injuries
Poor recordkeeping, negligence, and improper medical treatment may mean a resident is given the wrong prescription or an incorrect dosage. In fact, it has been estimated that nursing homes on average have one medication mistake per patient per day. These have potential to lead to serious injuries or death.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the typical nursing home reports 100 to 200 falls per year. Anywhere from half to three-quarters of all residents experience a fall during that time, with approximately 2.6 instances per person per year.
10 to 20 percent of these instances result in serious injuries, including disability, functional decline, or reduced quality of life, such as isolation, depression, or feelings of helplessness. 1,800 falls on average result in death.
As well, frequent falls may indicate health issues: muscle weakness, environmental hazards inside a home, medication problems, or difficulty moving.
10. Head Injuries
It’s estimated that one-third of all nursing home residents hit their heads. These frequently result from forward-moving falls, in which a resident hits his or her head against the floor.
When you send your loved one for care in a nursing home, you expect staff to attend to his or her needs and keep safety in mind at all times. Yet, injuries are often a significant sign negligence or abuse may be occurring. If you suspect this to be the case, Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of lawyers handles nursing home negligence claims. Contact any of our Connecticut offices to see if you have a case.