The family of a St. Louis nursing home resident is highly suspicious about a series of injuries their 86-year-old loved one has experienced. The injuries include swollen black eyes, a broken nose, and broken cheekbones.
The nursing home claims it was a nursing home fall. They claim that the resident fell out of bed. The family reports they were also told that the resident fell while walking from the bathroom back to her bed. Where this second report came from is not disclosed.
The family thinks that injuries of this kind look much more like a physical assault, and I think many people would be inclined to agree.
The truth is that every family who has a loved one who is injured in a nursing home faces the same questions that this family is facing. Is the injury the result of neglect or of abuse? But does the difference matter?
As a nursing home lawyer, I’ve seen the results of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse. These injuries absolutely could be caused by a nursing home fall.
When a person becomes affected by Alzheimer’s disease, another form of dementia, or even simple age, their reflexes slow dramatically. A younger person can easily imagine tripping and falling, but what they often can’t come to terms with is the idea not being able to make an effort to protect their head and face.
Nursing home residents frequently fall directly on their face. It’s one of the reasons why keeping residents from falling is critically important.
In contrast to nursing home neglect, nursing home abuse is often far more subtle. Staff members disturbed enough to abuse residents are typically careful to cover their tracks. They engage in verbal abuse. The physical abuse that they inflict is usually difficult to see.
However, just because a resident has fallen does not excuse the nursing home from responsibility. Residents are supposed to be regularly evaluated for the likelihood of nursing home falls. Low-to-the-ground beds and padded floor mattresses are used to protect residents who might fall from their beds.
Non-skid slippers, gait belts, and other devices can be used to keep residents from falling while they walk.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in a nursing home fall, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, we never charge a fee unless we earn a recovery for you.