Elderly at Higher Risk of Head Injury After Fall

When placing loved ones in the care of a professional nursing home or medical care facility, you trust that they will be safe. While it can be devastating to leave your loved ones under professional care, it can be even more devastating for any family to learn that their parent or grandparent fell and suffered an injury. New studies indicate that nursing home residents and the elderly face severe risks of head injury and long-term damage after a fall.

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Nursing home injuries caused by negligence or abuse demand an immediate investigation. Our Charlotte nursing home injury attorneys are experienced with complicated cases involving elderly neglect and abuse. We understand that every case is unique and will take the time to review the facts of your case, identify responsible parties, and aggressively pursue compensation in the event of an injury or wrongful death. Our firm stays abreast of issues relevant to nursing home patients and their families. We are also dedicated to raising awareness to prevent future injury or death.

According to recent reports, more than 30% of seniors who fall in nursing home facilities will hit their heads. Researchers have reviewed and analyzed footage from approximately 230 falls suffered by over 100 seniors who were residents of a long-term care facility. The analysts found that the seniors hit their heads in 37% of the falls. Victims struck their heads on a variety of objects, but most of the injuries were suffered by patients who hit the floor. Some also suffered falls and struck furniture or a wall.

Authors of the study were extremely surprised by the findings, noting that young people rarely hit their heads when they suffer a fall. This is likely because younger victims are able to use their arms or hands to protect their face and head in the event of a fall. The elderly victims were less likely to prevent a fall than their younger counterparts and the risk of head injury was higher for forward falls than backward falls. Analysts determined that the elderly were less likely to break their falls.

Researchers also suggested that the elderly were less successful with hand placement when breaking a fall and many did not have optimal tone or muscle to protect themselves. The elderly may also have insufficient strength in their upper bodies and backs.

With the reality of the high-risks for falls, nursing homes and other care facilities must be sure to follow protocols to prevent falls. Patients should be properly restrained in their beds or in wheelchairs. When necessary, patients should have an escort or walking device to be sure they are safe when moving around the premises. Authors of the study also see a number of areas for improvement, including better procedures to detect and diagnose brain injuries caused by falls.

In addition, nursing home facilities could improve the strength and muscle tone of patients to help them protect themselves in the event of a fall. Researchers suggest that long-term are facilities should continue with physical therapy and make sure that the residents are participating in exercises to strengthen upper limbs. Nursing home should also be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions to prevent head injuries. Softer floors and walls could create a cushion to prevent serious injury.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

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New Technology Liberates Disabled in the Great Outdoors, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2013

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