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Several risk factors make the elderly in nursing homes more likely to suffer a broken bone than elderly people in other settings. Many elderly people suffer diabetes, and some medications used to treat diabetes can decrease bone density. In addition, many elderly women suffer from osteoporosis, which greatly increases the risk that any fall or other injury that they sustain will result in a broken bone. Elderly people can also have issues with mobility and confusion that can make them more prone to falls.
Falls in a nursing home setting can be caused by a variety of different things, including poorly maintained floors and hallways, incorrect use of safety equipment such as bed railings and wheelchairs, or negligent supervision by nursing home staff.
Regardless of why an elderly person breaks a bone, the injury is extremely serious and should be treated as soon as possible. Elderly people have more brittle bones that take longer to heal. This means that when they break an arm or leg, it can result in complications that are much more serious than what younger people experience.
How to Determine if a Broken Bone is Accidental or Caused by Abuse
While many times nursing home residents break bones in falls that are either accidental or caused by neglect, broken arms in particular can be evidence of abuse in a nursing home. A nursing home resident may suffer a broken arm as a result of being handled too roughly. Nursing home staff may also purposely assault residents, resulting in broken arms. Finally, broken arms may be the result of violence by other elderly people in a nursing home. Bruising or other injuries around the broken arm can be evidence of abuse by someone else in the nursing home. Other common signs of abuse to look for are:
- Dehydration or infections;
- Agitation and confusion;
- Bed sores;
- Refusal to speak to others while nursing home staff or other residents are present;
- Sudden unexpected changes in behavior;
- Other unexplained injuries or deaths of residents of the nursing home;
- Overall unsanitary conditions;
- Heavily medicated or sedated residents;
- The facility appears to be understaffed; and
- Nursing home staff refuse visitations with little or no explanation.
Pursuing a Malpractice or Health Care Negligence Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home
If a nursing home resident is intentionally injured by a staff member at a nursing home, a lawsuit will have to prove civil assault or battery. A plaintiff in Illinois may also be able to bring a claim against the nursing home for negligent hiring or for some other negligent practice that led to the broken bone.
A successful negligence claim in Illinois must prove that:
- The nursing home breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff;
- The plaintiff’s injury was caused by this breach of duty; and
- The nursing home’s conduct caused the injury.
If you believe that a loved one in a nursing home has been injured as a result of negligence or abuse, then you need experienced health care negligence attorneys like SAM LAW OFFICE LLC on your side. Contact our offices today for an initial consultation.