Nursing home residents should be protected from harm when they are admitted into a long-term or assisted care facility. However, there is a real danger to many residents being burned from smoking accidents or other burn hazards within the nursing home. Many Illinois nursing home residents are burned or even lose their lives due to the carelessness of others or from a lack of protection by the nursing home staff and administration. The tragedy is that many of these fire and burn risks can be easily prevented.
As Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has represented patients who have suffered burn injuries in Illinois facilities. Our law office knows the devastation that a burn can have both immediately following an incident and during a recovery. If your loved one sustained a burn related to an incident or due to smoking, contact our office for a free case review.Illinois Nursing Home Patients Injured in Fires at the Facilities
The threat of a fire in a nursing home poses great danger to the residents who are being cared for in the facility. Due to the lack of mobility and health issues of the patients, trying to evacuate so many people could have disastrous results. The U.S. Accountability Office estimated that an average of 2,300 nursing homes had structural fires in each of the years between 1994-1999. In 2003, there were 31 fire related deaths at two nursing homes due to lack of sprinkler systems.
Nursing homes need to be held accountable to prevent fires at all costs with so much at stake. Some common causes of fires that these facilities are:
- Smoking accidents. Allowing smoking indoors by patients puts all the residents at risk of both fire and second hand smoke exposure. According to a report issued by the U.S. Fire Administration, smoking is the number one cause of fire fatalities in the elderly.
- Candles. Candles that are left burning and unsupervised are potential fire risks. Elderly patients are often prone to falling asleep from medications or other influences while a candle is left burning in their room.
- Flammable medical hazards. Nursing homes are at a higher risk for large fires due to many patients having pressurized oxygen and the abundance of flammable gases and electrical equipment that can start and perpetuate fires.
The elderly have a high risk to fire injuries and death. Fire fatalities are double the national average for those 75 years and older and quadruple for those 85 years or older. Diminishing eyesight, hearing and mobility can all be considered factors in why the elderly are at a higher fire fatality risk.Smoking Accidents In Chicago Nursing Homes
Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities still allow residents to smoke indoors. While many states and localities have restricted or banned smoking in public places, especially healthcare facilities, it is not a federal regulation. Nursing homes put their patients at both fire and health risk by allowing smoking within the facility and may be found negligent in protecting their patients when a smoking accident occurs.
Even in homes that restrict smoking to outdoor areas, there still needs to be supervision to prevent patient injuries. Most nursing homes have smoking policies to protect their patients that need to be adhered to. When these policies are either do not prevent injuries or are not adhered to, the nursing home may be found negligent in protecting their patients from harm.Other Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can be extremely hazardous for elderly persons. The morbidity and mortality rate from a surface burn is much higher in older adults, due to changes in the body’s water concentration and other factors. In addition to smoking burn injuries, nursing homes need to protect their patients from any type of burn risks such as:
- Scalding water
- Heating elements
- Cooking equipment
There are many complexities that are involved in smoking and burn injury nursing home lawsuits. To prove negligence, the policies and procedures that the nursing home has in place to prevent these burns must be investigated as well as the history and specific situation of the injured patient. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have litigated a number of these types of smoking or burn injury cases and are experienced in exposing the truth behind the cause of nursing home burn injuries.
If you have a loved one that has been injured in a burn or smoking accident in a Chicago nursing home, we invite you to discuss your case with one of our expert Illinois nursing home injury lawyers. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and will advise you of your options at no obligation to you. 888-424-5757