Many cases of head trauma, brain injury, and subdural hematomas occur in nursing homes every year in the United States. Brain injuries can be especially devastating to nursing home residents, often leading to severe mental, physical, and behavioral disability and, in many cases, wrongful death. With proper supervision and assistance, most cases of head trauma and brain injury can be avoided. However, as statistics continue to show, not enough is being done to prevent these injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury while residing in a nursing home, you should consult an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney right away.
Common Causes of Brain Injury and Head Trauma among Nursing Home Residents
Several avoidable conditions can lead to head trauma, brain injury, and subdural hematoma including:
- Falls – Inadequate supervision, assistance, or assistive devices often lead to falls and physical trauma to the head and brain. Nursing homes are required by federal law to provide proper assistance and assistive devices such as walkers and wheelchairs to residents who have difficulty moving about freely. Additionally, proper supervision must be provided to prevent residents from moving about freely who are unable to do so safely.
- Improper Transfer of Patient – It is absolutely crucial that patients be moved and transferred properly and safely. In recent years, hospitals are moving more acutely ill patients to nursing homes, and the more acutely ill patients require more handling by nursing home staff. Some of the most common transfers are from bed to chair; chair to a wheelchair; and wheelchair to the commode. Safe transfers require adequate staffing and equipment.
- Lack of Oxygen to the Brain – Anoxic brain injuries often lead to severe disability and death. Choking, smothering, lack of supplemental oxygen, drug overdose, or other medication errors are common causes of such brain injuries among nursing home residents.
- Physical Abuse – Although not as common as the aforementioned causes, several cases of nursing home employees striking, smothering, or shaking residents have been reported. Sometimes nursing home employees lose their temper. Numerous instances of brain damage have been reported akin to "shaken baby syndrome." In these instances, it is not uncommon to see bruises in the shape of fingers on your loved one’s arms. An MRI of the brain may show bleeding in the brain.
Unlike many types of injuries, the symptoms and consequences of brain injuries are often very subtle. Our law firm includes lawyers who are medically trained that understand the complexity of brain injuries, and also know how to calculate damages in these cases.
For more information, see Questions about Brain and Head Injuries.
If you live in the Arizona area, and you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to the abuse or neglect of nursing home personnel, please contact our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys with extensive medical backgrounds, at Cullan & Cullan today to schedule your no-cost, confidential consultation.