Elderly Falls

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Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65. According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), in 2014, the elderly represented 14.5% of the United States population which is set to grow 21.7% by 2040, reaching 98 million by 2060. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among elderly persons. Although falls are a common cause of injury among elderly, they are often overlooked.

The risk of falling increases significantly with age. It is estimated that accidental deaths account for 70 percent in persons 75 years of age and older in both sexes.  Elderly persons are more susceptible to falls due to long-term health conditions and diminished strength and reaction time. Elderly who fall are more likely to be hospitalized or die as a result of a fall. In the United States, it is estimated that one out of three elderly persons over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year with half of them having frequent falls. Every 13 seconds an elderly person is treated in the emergency room for a fall with 60% of falls occur in nursing homes and elderly care facilities. According to research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 20 minutes an elderly person dies from a fall.

Falls can be caused by medication use, cognitive impairment, and sensory deficits. Any types of falls whether fatal or non-fatal will impact someone’s life. In addition to physical injury, falls can cause a psychological impact on elderly persons, including as a loss of confidence, fear of falling again, and limitations in their activities. This can result in a further physical decline, isolation, depression, and feelings of neglect.

September 1st is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This initiative aims to draw attention to the problem and offer elderly adults practical solutions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), older persons who are living in nursing homes fall more often than those who are living in a community.

Most falls require immediate medical and ongoing attention. An elderly person or assisted living facility might not report a fall for a variety of reasons. It’s important to look at any indication of fall-related injuries, such as bruises and abrasions. Federal law provides guardians and/or relatives a legal right to see resident’s chart and medical records.

If an elderly care facility or one of its employees has acted negligently or has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in elderly negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.

Bedsores

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Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers, are caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. Bedsores can cause infections and other life-threatening conditions like cancer, sepsis, gas gangrene, and bone and joint infections. Bedsores usually develop in areas of the body where bone and skin are in very close contact (bony areas), such as the skin around or near the back of the head, shoulders, elbows, back, hips, tailbone, and especially along the spine, ankles, and heels.

In a nursing home setting, bedsores are a common problem and one of the many signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Nursing home residents frequently contract bedsores due to their lack of mobility, often remaining sedentary in a bed or wheelchair. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of residents in nursing homes currently suffer from bedsores.

Bedsore Classification

Bedsores are categorized based on their severity, as follows:

Stage 1 is the least severe. At this stage, the sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful but there are no breaks or tears. However, the person will experience persistent redness of the skin.

At stage 2 the skin breaks open and forms an ulcer that might appear as a blister. There may be a loss of partial thickness of the skin as the sore extends into deeper layers of the skin. At this stage, the skin becomes tender and painful.

During stage 3 the sore gets worse and the ulcer exhibits a loss of full thickness of the skin, with the sore extending into the tissue beneath the skin until a deep crater is visible.

Stage 4 is the most severe sore causing extensive damage. At this stage, the sore is very deep, causing a loss of full thickness of the skin and reaching into muscle and bone.

Bedsores are extremely painful and are considered to be serious medical conditions. In fact, the presence or lack of bedsores is one of the main ways that quality of care in a nursing home can be assessed. Bedsores are preventable if nursing home staff members follow proper medical care and daily patient monitoring procedures.

Nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities are supposed to provide their patients with high-quality care. There are specific standards that care facilities must follow to ensure that they provide the necessary quality care and services. When a new patient enters a facility, the facility must provide the “necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing.” These standards can be found in the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 483.25(c), created by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other agencies.

Bedsores Legal Help

Bedsores often develop through neglect, when the patient does not receive adequate care, including the failure to regularly reposition immobilized residents. A nursing home may be held liable or legally responsible for any bedsores that an individual subsequently suffers.

If your loved one is suffering from bedsores due to the inattention or inadequate care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorney of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057 to speak with a qualified New York elder injury attorney.

Understanding Nursing Home Abuse

shutterstock_120983638If you have chosen to utilize the benefits of a nursing home, you should be aware of signs of abuse. Common signs of nursing home abuse include the following:

  • Physical neglect, including bedsores, may indicate the nursing home staff fails to provide residents with the necessities of daily living
  • Residents who suffer from frequent falls, which can indicate that they may not be receiving adequate oversight from the nursing home staff, or they may be victims of poorly maintained equipment or facilities
  • Withdrawal or isolation can be a sign that staff is failing to provide a nursing home resident with adequate assistance or attention.
  • Frequent infections could mean that nursing home staff is failing to follow proper hand washing techniques.

The sooner you identify a potential problem with a nursing home, the earlier you can file a compelling lawsuit that may help you put an end to unlawful actions by the nursing home staff.

Simple Steps to Finding the Right Nursing Home

When selecting a nursing home, it is important to find a facility that suits the health needs of your family.  Some of the things you may want to consider when choosing a nursing home include:

  1. Compile a list of potential nursing homes within traveling distance.
  2. Speak to friends, neighbors, senior groups, and social groups about potential facilities
  3. Check the Medicare and Medicaid website for a list of certified nursing facilities
  4. Determine the facility’s proximity to family members and friends so that visits can be as frequent as possible
  5. Make an unannounced visit to the facility to determine the general feel of the place. Ask questions:
    • Is the atmosphere friendly?
    • How does the staff treat residents?
    • Is the facility clean?
    • How is the temperature?
    • How is the food?
    • What steps are taken in the event of a medical emergency?
    • Are there trained medical professionals on staff?
    • Where is the nearest hospital to the facility?
  6. After the unscheduled walk-through, set up an appointment with the facility’s administrator to ask questions regarding visitation, meals, hiring practices, and staff requirements.
  7. Finally, try to determine the overall quality of life of the residents. Does the facility provide social events? Opportunities to interact with friends and other residents?

Contact Us

If you feel a loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing or elder care facility staff, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, online or call (212) 779-0057. We believe very strongly that our seniors should be treated with dignity and respect and we will fight to ensure they receive such care.