Nursing home facilities are responsible for the health and safety of residents. But every year, many residents suffer concussions that are the result of nursing home neglect. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can occur when someone suffers a head injury – and it can have a significant impact on well-being and quality of life.
How do nursing home residents get concussions?
This type of injury can happen in a few different ways:
- Falls: There are many different factors that can lead to falls in nursing homes. Residents may have mobility limitations, balance problems, or experience medication side effects. They may have muscle weakness and suffer from cognitive impairments. A lack of proper assistive devices can play a role. Environmental hazards such as wet floors or inadequate lighting can also lead to falls.
- Dropping a resident during transport or transfer: Residents of nursing homes may suffer a concussion after being dropped while staff members are transferring them to or from a bed or transporting them to another area. This can happen due to inadequate staffing, improper lifting techniques, or the lack of necessary equipment, such as hoists or transfer belts.
- Striking a shelf or other object: Residents can accidentally strike their heads on shelves or other surfaces due to mobility issues, confusion, or inappropriate room accommodations. Improper room layout, the lack of regular safety assessments, and inadequate supervision can all play a role in these types of accidents.
Signs of concussion
Symptoms of a concussion may appear immediately after a blow to the head but can also be delayed. These symptoms can include:
- Confusion, disorientation, or trouble concentrating.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Dizziness and balance issues.
- Slurred speech.
- Memory problems.
- Mood swings or changes in behavior.
However, diagnosing concussions in nursing home residents can be challenging. Residents with cognitive impairments may have difficulty explaining their symptoms. Some may have a preexisting condition with symptoms that are similar to a concussion. In other cases, a resident may not report symptoms immediately. Or an injury may have occurred when no one was looking, making it difficult to identify the cause of symptoms.
Neglect is often a factor in nursing home concussions
Many nursing residents suffer head injuries in accidents that could have been prevented. For example:
- Failure to maintain walking areas can lead to residents slipping on wet floors or tripping on obstacles.
- Inadequate staff supervision may result in residents wandering unsafely.
- Medication errors can lead to dizziness or disorientation, making residents more prone to falls.
- Improperly installed or maintained rails can lead to residents falling.
- Failing to conduct a safe assessment can result in residents hitting their heads on a shelf or other surfaces.
- Neglecting residents' basic needs, such as hydration or assistance with mobility, can lead to accidents and falls.
- Staff members without proper training may contribute to residents falling during transfer or transport.
If a loved one suffered a concussion in an Alabama nursing home, it's important to get legal advice.
An experienced attorney can hold the facility accountable and fight for your loved one's rights. You may also be able to recover financial compensation for medical expenses related to the concussion and other damages.
Attorney Perry Shuttlesworth of Shuttlesworth Law Firm, P.C. has been fighting for the rights of nursing home residents in Birmingham and throughout Alabama since 1998. He can review what happened to your loved one and discuss your potential legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.