Spinal injuries in nursing homes are a grave concern that can drastically alter the lives of our elderly loved ones. These injuries, often resulting from falls or neglect, can lead to severe complications, including permanent disability and death.
- The Prevalence and Impact of a Spinal Injury in Nursing Homes
- Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
- The Role of Nursing Homes in Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
- Legal Options for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
- The Causes of Spinal Trauma in Nursing Homes
- The Consequences of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury for the Elderly
- Risk Factors for Spinal Cord Injuries in Nursing Homes
- Health Problems Resulting from Spinal Cord Injuries
- Legal Recourse for Spinal Cord Injuries in Nursing Homes
- How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Did your loved one suffer a spinal cord injury in a nursing home due to negligence?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC hold nursing home facilities accountable when staff members fail to keep residents safe and prevent spinal cord injuries.
Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 or use the online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The Prevalence and Impact of a Spinal Injury in Nursing Homes
According to the National Institute on Aging, spinal cord injuries are unfortunately common in nursing homes, primarily due to the increased fall susceptibility of older adults.
The severity of the trauma can range from complete, where the body loses all feeling and ability to control movement below the injury site, to incomplete, where some sensation and motor function are retained.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spinal cord injuries significantly cause disability in the United States.
The risk of a traumatic spinal cord injury is higher in older adults, particularly those living in nursing home facilities.
These high-risk injuries can drastically affect the quality of life of elderly patients, leading to complications such as paralysis and other health issues.
A Retrospective Study on Spinal Injuries in the Elderly
A retrospective study involving over 600 patients from 1991 to 2006 revealed alarming statistics.
The study found that 19% of elderly adults who suffer spinal fractures will die within three months and 28% within a year.
This highlights the high risk and potential severity of spinal injuries among older people, particularly those in nursing facilities.
The Role of Nursing Homes in Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
Nursing home residents are at an increased risk of fall injuries, which can lead to:
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Other injuries
The nursing home staff members are responsible for ensuring and maintaining their residents’ safety.
However, with nursing home abuse and neglect cases, there is a greater risk of injuries.
Ongoing Care Post-Injury
After the initial trauma stabilizes, doctors focus on preventing the risk of secondary problems such as:
- Muscle contractures
- Pressure ulcers
- Bowel and bladder issues
- Respiratory infections
- Blood clots
The length of the hospital stay depends on the patient’s condition and their medical issues.
Once well enough, patients may participate in therapies and treatment and transfer to a rehabilitation facility.
Rehabilitation begins in the early stages of recovery.
The team specializing in physical medicine (physiatrist) or spinal cord injuries might include the following:
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Rehabilitation nurse
- Rehabilitation psychologist
- Social worker
- Recreation therapist
The focus is on maintaining and strengthening muscle function, redeveloping fine motor skills, and learning ways to adapt to day-to-day tasks.
Medications might be used to manage some of the effects of spinal cord injury, including the following:
- Medicine to control pain and muscle spasticity
- Drugs that can improve bladder control, bowel control, and sexual functioning
Use of Modern Technologies
Modern technologies can help people with spinal cord injuries become more independent and mobile.
These include the following:
- Modern wheelchairs
- Computer adaptations
- Electronic aids to daily living
- Electrical stimulation devices
Prognosis and Recovery
Recovery among elderly people, if it occurs, usually relates to the severity and level of the trauma.
The fastest recovery rate when a fall injury occurs is often seen in the first six months, but some people make small improvements for up to 1 to 2 years.
Coping and Support
Residents that suffer from an accident that results in paralysis undergo a life-changing event.
This can include:
- Professional counseling
- Support groups
- Education about the trauma and options for gaining more independence
Advances in stem cell research and nerve cell regeneration give hope for more significant recovery for older people with spinal cord injuries.
New treatments are being investigated for people with long-standing spinal cord injuries.
Each patient may have a unique journey, and working closely with healthcare professionals to ensure the best possible long-term management of a spinal cord injury is essential.
Legal Options for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
If a family member or loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to nursing home neglect or abuse, it is important to seek justice.
Our attorneys specializing in caregiver abuse cases can help victims and their family members understand their legal rights and options to pursue a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
If you or a loved one are in this situation, do not hesitate to contact a spinal cord injury lawyer for assistance.
Every patient has the right to a safe and respectful environment.
If this right is violated, it is essential to take action and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.
The Causes of Spinal Trauma in Nursing Homes
Spinal cord injuries in nursing facilities can occur for various reasons.
Falls are the most common cause, with elderly residents being more prone to falling due to muscle loss, balance problems, and an unsteady gait.
Spinal trauma can also result from abuse, where a staff member, visitor, or another resident assaults a patient, causing them to fall and hurt their back.
The Consequences of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury for the Elderly
The consequences of spinal cord injuries for the elderly are severe and life-altering.
Depending on the location and severity of the trauma, the individual may experience paralysis, either of the following:
- Tetraplegia affecting arms, hands, legs, trunk, and pelvic organs
- Paraplegia affecting all or part of the lower extremities, trunk, and pelvic organs
These conditions can lead to other difficulties and risks, including the following:
- Bedsores due to being bed-bound or sitting for long periods
- Infections caused by nasal tube feeding
- Urinary tract infections due to loss of bowel control
- Fractures due to bone loss
Risk Factors for Spinal Cord Injuries in Nursing Homes
Certain individuals are more prone to spinal cord injuries, including males aged 65 and older and those with diseases affecting bones and joints, such as osteoporosis.
Individual Risk Factors
Individual risks for spinal cord injuries in nursing facilities include advanced age, being male, and diseases affecting bones and joints, such as osteoporosis.
These factors can increase the likelihood of falls, the most common cause of spinal cord injuries among the elderly.
Environmental Risk Factors
Environmental risks in nursing facilities can also contribute to spinal trauma, including the following:
- Inadequate supervision
- Lack of fall protection
- Medication errors
- Physical abuse
Negligent hiring practices, lack of training, poor management, and other factors can also contribute to this abuse.
Health Problems Resulting from Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal trauma can lead to many health problems for nursing home residents, both physical and mental.
Physical Health Problems
Physical health problems resulting from a spinal cord injury include chronic pain, bladder & bowel dysfunction, increased susceptibility to heart and lung problems, and fractures.
Furthermore, people with spinal cord injuries are 2 to 5 times more likely to suffer premature deaths than those without such trauma.
Mental and Emotional Health Problems
Nearly any spinal cord injury can lead to mental and emotional health problems.
The loss of mobility and independence, coupled with the pain and discomfort, can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and lowered self-esteem.
Legal Recourse for Spinal Cord Injuries in Nursing Homes
If a loved one has suffered a spinal injury in a nursing home due to negligence or abuse, it’s crucial to understand your rights and seek legal help.
Understanding Your Rights
Nursing home staff members have a legal duty to protect patients from preventable harm and prevent falls.
When nursing home staff members fail in their duty, they could be liable for injuries arising from their negligence.
Family members can file a legal claim against liable parties, including:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other patients
- Nursing home owners or administrators
Seeking Legal Help
Seeking legal help is vital in pursuing justice for your loved one.
Experienced personal injury lawyers can guide you through the process, helping you understand your rights and the potential for financial compensation.
This compensation can cover the following:
- Medical bills
- Disability-related costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death-related costs, such as funeral and burial costs
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Are you a spinal injury victim in a nursing home due to negligence or abuse?
A personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in such cases.
- Provide a free consultation to understand your case
- Guide you through the legal process
- Help you understand your rights
- Assist in gathering evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies and other parties for a fair settlement
- Represent you in court, if necessary
Remember, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay unless they win your case.
You can reach out for help at (888) 424-5757.