Collectively, we are living longer. That’s the good news. Increased age, however, may become problematic in selecting one’s residence in latter years. Often, health concerns prohibit our elderly family members from living at home or with family. As potential caregivers, we wish to make parents and grandparents as comfortable as possible but if there are medical or housing issues, our desires are secondary to proper daily healthcare and well-being management. Often, families and seniors look to assisted living facilities for elder residential and medical care. The hope is to find a caring and attentive senior living facility but that is all too often not the case. Generally through negligence rather than malevolence, elderly people in these type of institutions are getting hurt- too often, from preventative injuries such as hip fractures.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that there are around 300,000 people in this age group who suffer from a broken hip each year. Of those, 20 to 30% will be dead within 12 months of the injury, and many others show a significant decrease in their functional abilities.
Main Causes of Broken Hips in the Elderly
The main causes of broken hips in the elderly are slips and falls. In an assisted living facility, falls are fairly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average 100-bed nursing home reports 100 to 200 falls each year and that around 1,800 patients who fall die from their injuries.
There are many reasons that seniors in nursing homes may fall. Their muscles are weaker, their balance may be off, vertigo, poor eyesight and the physical limitations of moving from one place to another. However, these problems are often exacerbated by negligence within the nursing home.
Of the reported falls each year, around 27% are due to environmental hazards. Some of the most common hazards include:
- Wet floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Wheelchairs and beds that are not properly fitted to the patient
- Improper monitoring and not providing assistance
Each of these hazards is preventable, and they are considered nursing home neglect when a patient is injured.
A thorough investigation should include a through review of the resident’s medical records, daily activity reports, maintenance records, incident reports, prior litigation involving the facility, identifying and interviewing potential witnesses, and many other factors that will become evident once an investigation is underway.
Broken hips in the elderly are serious, and when they occur due to nursing home abuse or negligence, you need to contact a lawyer for assistance to determine your rights in the situation.