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Facial injuries common among nursing home residents

Would it surprise you to learn that nursing home facilities are not doing enough to prevent falls that can lead to serious injuries? That's the finding from a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers reported that traumatic facial injuries are fairly common in nursing homes due to their lack of fall prevention.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers found that 109,795 residents suffered facial injuries that required emergency medical care during a five year span. The most common types of facial injuries involved:

  • Lacerations - 44.3 percent
  • Soft-tissue injuries - 41.8 percent
  • Fractures - 12 percent

Falls could be a sign of negligence

Why are residents getting injured? The study found that residents were most often injured after falling and hitting fixed furniture or structures in the building.

Falls are preventable in nursing homes if they take the right precautions. Nursing homes are responsible for helping residents with their daily activities, including getting in and out of bed and moving around the nursing home. While some falls may be inevitable, safety protocols in nursing homes can prevent falls in many cases.

Falls can be a warning sign of negligence or even abuse in a nursing home. If a nursing home staff is not able to prevent falls, other safety guidelines to prevent injuries may also be ignored. This includes failing to reposition patients in bed to prevent bed sores, which can lead to serious infections, to failing to follow medication guidelines that could lead to serious complications and even death.

Other warning signs of nursing home negligence include unexplained weight loss, anxiety around caretakers, undernourishment, bruises and unclean clothes. Older residents may not want or be able to speak up about the neglect so it is important to recognize the warning signs before it gets any worse.

If you suspect neglect or abuse, report it to the authorities. Then consider contacting a personal injury attorney to understand your legal options to hold nursing homes accountable for their neglect.

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