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Seniors at high risk of head injuries


When friends and family members reach a certain age, it might be necessary for loved ones to help them transition and relocate to a nursing home. Although this can be a healthy and helpful facility, there are some growing concerns for placing loved ones in nursing home.

A recent health news report might have caught the attention of San Diego residents, especially those with family or loved ones in a nursing home. Research has shown that more than one third of all nursing home patients in long-term care facilities hit their heads when they fall. Given that the elderly population is usually at a heightened risk of slipping and falling, this new research shows that a large portion of these falls could end in catastrophic injury or even death for senior citizens in nursing homes.

In the study, which analyzed video footage of senior citizens, more than half of all seniors struck their head on the floor. In many nursing care facilities, the floors are made of hard materials, which could increase the likelihood of a major bone break injury or even brain damage.

The study found that seniors, who often have weakened muscles, are unable to break their falls in most incidents, even if they get their arms out in front of them as they fall. In fact, falling forward creates a much higher risk of head impact than falling backward.

Senior citizens and nursing home patients have a right to a reasonable standard of care. This means that staff should be trained to protect seniors who are vulnerable to these nursing home injuries, and nursing home facilities should be designed with these safety precautions in mind. For example, facilities should have adequate rails and handles on walls for infirm seniors to catch themselves,

Furthermore, they should also have flooring that is capable of cushioning these frequent falls instead of hard surfaces that are more likely to seriously injure fall victims. Those that are seriously injured could file for a personal injury claim. This could result in compensation for the injuries they suffered due to the negligence of another.

Those that are concerned about nursing home neglect should demand these improvements, and if people suspect nursing home negligence, they should immediately take proactive action. Those affected by nursing home negligence should understand their options and rights to they could take appropriate actions in the situation.

Source: US News and World Report "Head Injuries Common in Nursing Home Falls: Study," Oct. 7, 2013

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