According to a recent study, last year more than 20,000 nursing home residents in the United States suffered serious injuries to their face. Most of the injuries resulted from falling and hitting hard surfaces or while getting in and out of bed. The survey raises concern that nursing home residents are not receiving an adequate level of safety monitoring and care.
With the population aging and nearly 1.4 million people already in United States nursing home facilities, it is important that nursing homes be held accountable when these injuries occur. Programs that focus on fall prevention aim to protect nursing home residents from these injuries, but alone they are not enough.
Face injuries can be particularly devastating for elderly people as they can impact vital functions, such as speech, swallowing, sight, and breathing. Facial injuries can also cause considerable pain and a high risk for infection. Additionally, elderly people are more likely to have longer hospital stays and longer healing time than younger facial injury victims.
What is the Most Common Type of Facial Injury in Long Term Care Facilities?
To estimate the number and causes of face injuries in elderly nursing home residents, the study analyzed data from hospital emergency room departments nationwide. They found that between 2011 and 2015, a total of 109,795 nursing home residents over age 60 required emergency room care for a face injury. Half of these residents were over age 84, and 65 percent of them were women.
Researchers also noted how the resident sustained the injury and where on the face they were injured. The most common injuries, accounting for 44 percent of the group, were deep cuts or skin tears. The next most common was other soft tissue injuries, including skin and deep tissue bruises and the tearing off of skin patches, eyelids, and ears. Nearly 13 percent of the injuries were bone fractures, with the most common bone fracture being a broken nose or fractured eye socket.
Most often the injuries were the result of a fall that caused the resident to hit their face on a hard surface such as a door, the floor, or a countertop or cabinet. Getting in and out of bed was the second most common cause for face injury, accounting for 23 percent of the group.
Nursing home residents can reduce their risk of falling by doing exercise or physical therapy and by getting their vision checked regularly. Nursing homes can reduce resident fall risk by continuing to monitor resident’s physical abilities, allowing for earlier identification of residents with fall risks. Families of residents can help by selecting a nursing home that will provide their loved one with the adequate level of care and assistance getting in and out of bed and going to the bathroom.
If someone you love has suffered a facial injury as a resident in a nursing home that is the result of improper or insufficient care, an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer can help. Bey & Associates is experienced in handling cases involving facial injuries and will work to hold the negligent individuals responsible. Contact our team today for a free, zero-obligation consultation of your case.