Due to a variety of factors affecting elderly residents of nursing homes, such as their advanced age and possible health concerns, these facilities can result in abuse for their residents. Broken bones refer to a condition that may plague elderly patients, no matter if they live in a nursing home or not, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reports that one out of five falls causes serious injuries. However, when a bone breaks at a nursing home, the nursing home itself may bear the responsibility as you specifically tasked them with taking care of your loved one.
Closed and spontaneous fractures in nursing home residents can frequently occur to elderly residents, especially if residents remain prone to balance issues that may lead to falling. These fractures classify as breaks that do not outwardly penetrate the skin, as opposed to compound fractures, which are visible through the skin. While closed fractures are generally not as serious, caretakers should still pay close attention to them and their progression. These issues worsen when the individual in question has difficulty communicating their pain.
Effects of Closed Fractures
When a patient suffers a broken bone of any kind in their older years, the issue can have much greater effects than it would on a younger individual because wound healing and aging are highly correlated. Compared to an individual in their 20s, for example, an individual in their 70s would have a much harder time healing their wounds. Advanced age can also make rehabilitation increasingly difficult.
Additionally, the effects of closed fractures can include:
- Large amounts of short-term and long-term pain.
- Loss of passions and social interaction.
- High medical bills.
- The need for more intensive nursing home care.
- Mobility rehabilitation for the injury, especially if it affects the lower extremities, like a patient’s legs or feet.
- Blood clots or internal bleeding.
- Possible paralysis.
In cases where a patient already experiences considerable pain from another preexistent ailment, like cancer or degenerative bone diseases, these types of breaks can make detection even more difficult. Nursing home employees need to keep a constant watch on their residents. As some of these patients cannot care for themselves, these injuries can potentially turn deadly. With regularly scheduled checkups, these types of injuries do not have to create a major setback. Caregivers must give any patient at risk of a closed fracture medical attention as soon as possible.
Treatment Options for a Closed Fracture
As these types of fractures prove much more severe than the typical bruising or swelling that may occur after a fall, the patient needs to go to a hospital for immediate treatment. The accompanying treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury, but it typically involves setting the bone in place, putting a cast on it, and letting it heal. Doctors may give the patient pain medication before anything else, as the injury can bring extreme discomfort. Additionally, in most cases, an anti-inflammatory drug may help take down any swelling that occurred.
The longer the injury goes untreated, the more dangerous it can prove to a person’s health. If nursing home staff catch closed fractures right away, the swelling and damage will likely remain as minimal as possible for an injury of this caliber. Further, when it comes to the treatment phase at the hospital, the doctors may need to perform surgery or certain procedures to ensure that the bone will heal properly. If the traditional setting of the bone does not suffice, doctors may need to insert wiring, screws, nails, or similar devices to ensure a safe recovery and rehabilitation period after the procedure.
These injuries may result in the injured party having to wear a sling, cast, or splint for up to 10 weeks. If the staff neglects closed fractures in a resident, a nursing home abuse lawyer may help you protect your right to compensation.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers May Help You Build a Case
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team of attorneys want to help residents who suffered injustice at these types of facilities. When a patient receives a closed fracture for any reason, it can indicate a much larger issue. When nursing home staff provide adequate care, they often avoid the issues that lead to closed fractures or injuries of any kind. Call us at (800) 842-6336 for your free consultation. We want to help protect your right to compensation for any wrongdoing your loved one sustained in a nursing home.