Nursing homes are required by law to provide safe and secure environments for their elderly residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes hire abusive or neglectful employees who either fail to provide adequate care, or intentionally hurt the patients they are supposed to protect. If your elderly parent lives at a nursing home and has recently suffered a hip injury, such as a pelvic fracture (broken hip) or labral tear, you should consider speaking with a nursing home abuse attorney who can investigate the cause of the injury. If the hip injury was caused by neglect or abuse, financial compensation may be available.
The nursing home injury lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm regularly handle cases involving nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. We handle nursing home injury claims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including claims against nursing homes in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Norristown, Downingtown, West Chester, Malvern, Warminster, Media, Darby, Mount Laurel, Camden, Cherry Hill, and many other communities.
Legal help may be available if you or a family member broke their hip at a nursing home in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. To learn about your family’s legal options in a free consultation on nursing home negligence, contact our law offices today.
Nursing Home Fall Statistics
Frequent falls at home are a major reason for admission into nursing homes. Nursing homes are supposed to implement clear policies for fall prevention and treatment, yet in many facilities, these policies are either absent, unclear, or poorly enforced. For example, a nursing home might:
- Fail to hire enough employees, leading to an understaffed facility that does not have the resources to monitor residents properly.
- Fail to provide a reasonably safe and hazard-free environment, leading to preventable slip and fall accidents on the premises.
- Negligently hire or retain an employee with a history of assault, sexual assault, or serious nursing home violations. The employee might then abuse a resident, or allow other residents to abuse a resident.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an alarming statistical report on falls in nursing homes. The report found that approximately 100 to 200 falls occur annually in each nursing home with a 100-bed capacity. That means as few as five nursing homes could account for as many as 1,000 falls in a single year.
According to the same report, “As many as three out of four nursing home residents fall each year.” On average, residents fall between two and three times per year, despite the fall prevention policies that nursing homes are supposed to implement. Just over one third of these accidents affect residents who cannot walk.
Sadly, many nursing home falls produce disabling or fatal injuries. According to the CDC, about 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries each year: an average of nearly five preventable deaths each day. Up to 20% of nursing home falls result in “serious injuries,” and as many as 6% result in bone fractures. Pelvic fractures, or broken hips, are especially common.
Elderly Broken Hip Injury Survival Rate
Statistics show that over one in 20 nursing home falls results in a bone fracture, such as a pelvic fracture injury. A broken bone might not sound serious to a person who is young and healthy – but for an elderly individual, a pelvic fracture can be a life-threatening medical emergency, especially because many nursing home residents already have weakened immune systems. Because older adults have a more difficult time recovering from injuries, even a seemingly minor accident can have dire health consequences.
A pelvic fracture is a serious injury, and the recovery process is long and arduous. Many complications can arise during the healing process, such as infections that develop when bacteria is introduced to the wound site, or bed sores that develop while the injury victim is immobilized during recovery.
Unfortunately, pelvic fractures tend to have a poor prognosis in the elderly, as several studies have shown. Depending on factors like the severity of the injury, whether complications develop during treatment, and the injury victim’s overall health, a broken hip can shorten life expectancy and cause wrongful death. The following quote is excerpted from a 2010 study published in the medical journal Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation:
“It has been reported that 86% of hip fractures occur in individuals aged 65 years and older. Hip fractures are associated with significant morbidity, mortality, loss of independence, and financial burden. In usual care, the reported 1-year mortality after sustaining a hip fracture has been estimated to be 14% to 58%.”
In other words, up to 58% of seniors will die from pelvic fractures within one year of sustaining the injury. The risk of death is especially great during the first few months after the injury, with the same study noting, “A recent meta-analysis revealed that women sustaining a hip fracture had a 5-fold increase and men almost an 8-fold increase in relative likelihood of death within the first three months” of a hip fracture.
Even in a scenario where the injury is survivable and no complications develop, the consequences of a broken hip are still devastating. From a financial standpoint, the victim will likely incur massive amounts of medical debt related to hip surgery, prolonged hospitalization, physical therapy, and ongoing pain management. From a physical standpoint, the victim will likely experience chronic pain and reduced mobility, with added risk that their body will later reject a surgical hip implant. Finally, from a mental or emotional standpoint, the victim will likely experience fear and anxiety about falling again, as well as depression resulting from diminished mobility and independence.
Nursing Home Pelvic Fracture Attorneys Can Help
Filing a nursing home lawsuit or injury claim may result in the recovery of compensation, which can help your family pay for medical bills, ongoing care costs, transportation to medical facilities, and remunerate you for other financial losses. Compensation is also recoverable for non-financial losses resulting from a nursing home pelvic injury. For example, a nursing home hip fracture victim may be compensated for their pain and suffering, their mental anguish, and, where applicable, any permanent scarring or disfigurement resulting from the fracture.
Our nursing home lawyers have successfully handled numerous nursing home malpractice cases against nursing homes and assisted living communities. If your elderly family member suffered a hip fracture, a labral tear, a dislocated hip joint, or received delayed or inadequate care for bursitis while staying at a nursing home in Pennsylvania or New Jersey we can help you review your options for pursuing compensation. For a free legal consultation on hip fractures in nursing homes, call us today.