Concussions in Nursing Homes
Concussions in nursing homes are an all too common occurrence. When nursing home residents fall, serious head trauma can result. These falls often happen due to insufficient supervision or safety precautions. At Nursing Homes Abuse, we provide information about how and when to go to a concussion in nursing home lawyer and how you can pursue compensation for the serious damages a senior loved one suffered due to nursing home negligence.
- The Nursing Home Reform Act: Residents’ Rights and Legal Protections
- Why Concussions are Common in Nursing Homes
- Preventing Falls: The Best Way to Avoid Head Injuries
- Signs of Concussion and Head Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- How to Help a Loved One Recover
- Concussions in Nursing Homes FAQs
- Get Help From a Concussion in Nursing Homes Attorney Today
Elderly individuals and their family members select nursing homes with care, aiming to find a safe and secure facility where seniors can maintain their quality of life through their golden years. Unfortunately, in some nursing homes, neglect poses significant dangers, including a higher risk of falls. Concussions are particularly concerning for elderly residents, who may suffer ongoing effects of head trauma.
If you or a loved one are dealing with the effects of a concussion suffered in a nursing home due to the negligence of the facility or its staff, a lawsuit can help you recover compensation for those damages. Contact Nursing Homes Abuse today to learn more about your rights.
The Nursing Home Reform Act: Residents' Rights and Legal Protections
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act aimed to address deficiencies that had been found in nursing homes nationwide. The law also establishes the minimum standards of care nursing homes must provide. It further defines the rights afforded to all nursing home residents, freedom from abuse, mistreatment, or neglect. It also lays out their rights to privacy, accommodation for their needs, and treatment with dignity.
Under these madates, nursing homes must provide residents with the support they need to avoid falls and treatment for any injuries they suffer.
Why Concussions are Common in Nursing Homes
Concussions occur in nursing homes for several reasons. Head injuries often occur because of the following:
- The patient falls. More than 60 percent of senior head injuries result from falls.
- Someone drops a patient during transport or transfer.
- A patient’s head strikes a shelf or other object.
- An object falls, striking the patient’s head.
Most often, concussions in nursing homes occur because patients do not receive adequate mobility support, including support with toileting, dressing, and other activities of daily living.
Unfortunately, around 63 percent of nursing homes struggle with moderate to high staffing shortages, and 87 percent have had difficulties hiring sufficient staff. As a result of inadequate staffing, staff members may be too overextended to offer residents the individualized support necessary to avoid accidents. Furthermore, nursing home staff members may receive rushed and inadequate training to get them working with residents faster.
Preventing Falls: The Best Way to Avoid Head Injuries
Approximately half of all nursing home residents suffer a fall at least once yearly. Since most head injuries in seniors occur due to falls, preventing those dangerous events is the most effective way to avoid head injuries in nursing homes. The following measures can protect nursing home residents from the risk of falls:
- Installing handrails in the locations resident use most often, such as hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms
- Providing mobility assistance for seniors
- Responding quickly when seniors have mobility-related needs
- Keeping call lights and devices within reach so seniors can easily access support when needed
- Regularly assessing fall risks and instituting necessary measures
- Preventing trip hazards, including keeping the floor in good repair and moving items off the floor
- Keeping residents’ possessions organized where they can reach them
- Never leaving a resident alone during transfer
- Providing education for residents on how to avoid falls, particularly if they have known mobility issues
When nursing home staff members fail to provide these basic fall prevention measures, it raises the risk that a resident will have an accident.
Signs of Concussion and Head Injuries
Signs of concussion in seniors can show up immediately after a blow to the head, but sometimes injuries are not apparent until some time later. After any fall, staff members need to carefully evaluate seniors and provide the necessary care. The following are common signs of concussion:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems remembering new information
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Changes in balance
If you notice a loved one exhibiting the following concussion signs, report it immediately so they can get medical care. Promptly addressing concussion symptoms can signifcantly improve the outcome and reduce the risk of serious complications.
In addition, concussions and other injuries in a nursing home environment may be signs of abuse, so make sure you keep a record of any symptoms your loved one has.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the head suffers a signifcant impact, such as a blow or jolt. Severe traumatic brain injuries can lead to more intense symptoms, including:
- Worsening or severe headache
- Vision changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or inability to wake
- Changes in focus and concentration
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
Prompt treatment following a blow to the head can help ensure positive outcomes and decrease the risk of severe symptoms.
How to Help a Loved One Recover
Most people recover from concussions within a few weeks. However, some injuries take longer to resolve. If a loved one has suffered a concussion in a nursing home, you can take the following steps to aid in the recovery process and protect them:
- Determine the source of the fall, including helping your loved one address any symptoms that may have contributed, such as dizziness or loss of balance.
- Help your loved one avoid over-stimulation during recovery.
- If needed, perform tasks on your loved one’s behalf, including help with finances.
- Deal with nursing home staff on your loved one’s behalf. Check in with them regularly if necessary.
- Provide transportation to therapy appointments.
- Help institute further fall protection so your loved one does not suffer a second blow to the head. Further head trauma could increase symptoms or lead to permanent damage.
Supporting your loved one through concussion recovery can help them avoid complications and ensure a smoother recovery process.
Concussions in Nursing Homes FAQs
If you still have questions about nursing home abuse or neglect, check out these FAQs to learn more.
What Should I Do After a Nursing Home Concussion?
If your loved one suffered a concussion in a nursing home, report the incident to the nursing home’s staff and administrators. Also contact your loved one’s physician. Make sure your loved one receives any needed medical attention. Institute better fall protection to help avoid future incidents. Finally, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Should I Pursue a Lawsuit After a Concussion in a Nursing Home?
If you or a loved one suffered a concussion in a nursing home due to neglect, get help from a nursing home neglect lawyer to learn more about your rights. Nursing home neglect lawsuits can help victims recover compensation for their damages. When someone you love suffers abuse in a nursing home, including neglect, a lawyer can help you pursue a claim. Nursing Homes Abuse can provide you with a free consultation and assessment of your case today.
Get Help From a Concussion in Nursing Homes Attorney Today
Experienced and skilled legal counsel will elevate your chances of proving that your loved one’s concussion resulted from neglect by the facility and its staff.
If you or a loved one suffered a concussion in a nursing home due to neglect, Nursing Homes Abuse can help you find an attorney who can advise you about your rights and guide you through the claims process.
Contact Nursing Homes Abuse today to learn more about how you can protect your rights.