Broken Hip in a Nursing Home – Is It Negligence?

Abuse and Neglect

Imagine the following scenario: Your frail, elderly loved one resides in a nursing home, where they are supposed to receive professional care and support. One day, you receive a devastating phone call informing you that your loved one has suffered a broken hip.

Your mind races with questions and concerns. How did this happen? Could the nursing home have prevented it? Is the nursing home liable for its negligence?

In this blog, we’ll explore the complex issue of broken hips in nursing homes and discuss whether it can constitute an act of negligence. If you or someone you know is facing a similar situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a seasoned South Carolina nursing home injury lawyer.

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The Devastating Impact of a Broken Hip

Broken Hip in a Nursing Home - Is It Negligence

A broken hip is a serious injury, especially for elderly individuals. It can lead to severe pain, reduced mobility, and a decline in overall health, up to and including death. In fact, studies have shown that the mortality rate for seniors who fracture their hips increases significantly.

This injury can distress both the individual and their family, as it often requires extensive medical treatment and a long road to recovery.

What Causes Hip Fractures in Nursing Home Settings?

Hip fractures in long-term care facilities typically result from one of three primary causes:

  • Individual Falls: Residents in nursing homes may experience hip fractures as a consequence of falling on their own. Factors contributing to these falls can include inadequate supervision, environmental hazards, or the resident’s physical condition.
  • Nurse-Related Incidents: In some instances, nursing home residents may suffer hip fractures due to being dropped by nurses or other staff members. Mishandling during transfers, lack of proper lifting equipment, or inadequate training may contribute to these unfortunate incidents.
  • Non-Traumatic Fractures: Non-traumatic hip fractures, often associated with conditions like osteoporosis or brittle bones, represent another category. While these fractures are not a result of a specific incident, they can be influenced by the nursing home’s overall care and preventive measures.

When family members discover that their loved one has experienced a hip fracture within a nursing home, they often seek clarification on the circumstances. Nursing home staff may attribute the fracture to natural causes like osteoporosis or weak bones, downplaying any potential negligence.

However, extensive studies indicate that a significant majority of hip fractures in individuals aged 65 and older are linked to falls or dropping incidents rather than merely being a result of the aging process. Hips do not break spontaneously.

In situations where a loved one has suffered a broken hip in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, a thorough investigation is warranted to determine the true cause of the fracture.

It is not uncommon for nursing homes to downplay their role in such incidents, emphasizing pre-existing conditions. Seeking clarity on the circumstances surrounding the hip fracture is essential to ensure accountability and, if necessary, take appropriate legal action.

Treatment Approaches for Hip Fractures

Several treatment options are available for a broken hip, often depending on the patient’s overall health. Hip surgery may be recommended if deemed suitable for the patient.

The hip, as it is a ball and socket joint, necessitates different surgical approaches based on the type and location of the hip fracture:

  • Intracapsular Fracture: Surgical intervention with placement of screws within a plate to stabilize the head of the femur.
  • Intertrochanteric Fracture: Surgical options of implantation of a compression hip screw or intramedullary nail. These implants are secured into the outer bone, attaching through a plate to the neck and head of the hip.
  • Subtrochanteric Fracture: Surgical management with the placement of an intramedullary nail and a screw into the neck and head of the femur. Additional support screws around the main nail may be employed, along with a locking plate to control movement in the affected area.

Post-Surgery and Recovery

Following surgery, elderly nursing home residents with broken hips typically undergo an extensive recovery process, which includes:

  • Hospital Stay: Usually ranging from two to seven days post-op.
  • Rehabilitation: Transfer to a skilled nursing facility for in-house and outpatient physical therapy, a crucial but often painful aspect of recovery.

The associated costs of hip surgery and rehabilitation post-surgery are substantial, estimated to exceed $50,000 by CMS. However, the financial aspects are only one facet of the aftermath; the patient’s pain and suffering resulting from a preventable injury are equally significant.

The Consequences of Broken Hips

Aside from the considerable financial burden, broken hips pose severe health risks for elderly individuals who have experienced a fall. In fact, broken hips are recognized as the leading cause of death in elderly fall victims.

The impact extends beyond the financial realm, encompassing the extensive pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life experienced by the affected individuals.

Addressing the consequences of a broken hip involves not only medical intervention but also considerations of the emotional toll on the nursing home resident and their loved ones.

Understanding Nursing Home Negligence

Before determining whether a broken hip in a nursing home is negligence, let’s briefly discuss the concept of negligence.

Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation, resulting in harm or injury to another person.

In the case of nursing homes, negligence can take various forms, such as:

  • Understaffing
  • Improper training
  • Medication errors
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Neglectful care

Assessing Negligence in Broken Hip Cases

Several factors come into play when examining whether a nursing home can be held accountable for a broken hip.

These factors include:

  • Fall Risk Assessment: Nursing homes have a duty to conduct fall risk assessments for each resident. It helps identify individuals prone to falls and enables the development of appropriate care plans. If the nursing home failed to perform a proper evaluation or ignored the identified risks, they may be considered negligent.
  • Supervision and Assistance: Nursing home staff are responsible for providing adequate supervision and assistance to residents, especially those at a higher risk of falling. Suppose a resident was left unsupervised or did not receive the assistance needed to move safely. In that case, the nursing home may be held liable for negligence.
  • Facility Maintenance and Safety: Nursing homes must maintain a safe environment for their residents. This includes regularly inspecting and repairing hazards that can cause falls, such as loose handrails, slippery floors, or inadequate lighting. Failure to address these issues promptly can be seen as negligence.
  • Staff Training and Competency: Nursing home staff should receive proper training to handle residents safely, especially those with mobility issues. If staff members lack the necessary training or competence, it can lead to mistakes or negligence in providing care, potentially resulting in a broken hip.
  • Staff-to-Resident Ratio: Understaffing is a common issue in nursing homes and can significantly impact the quality of care provided. Insufficient staffing levels may prevent staff from adequately supervising residents and providing prompt assistance when needed, increasing the risk of falls and subsequent injuries.

What Should You Do After Learning Your Loved One Has a Broken Hip?

What Should You Do After Learning Your Loved One Has a Broken Hip

Discovering that your loved one has suffered a broken hip can be a distressing and alarming situation. You may be asking yourself, “What should I do next?” Taking immediate action is essential to ensure your loved one receives medical care and protects their rights. Here are a few crucial steps to consider in such circumstances:

Contact the nursing home staff immediately to ensure your loved one receives prompt medical attention. Acting promptly is crucial because a broken hip can be a severe injury, especially for older adults, and delays in treatment can lead to complications.

Next, consult with an experienced attorney well-versed in nursing home neglect and elder abuse cases. They understand the legal complexities surrounding nursing home negligence and can help you navigate the process effectively. By retaining an attorney, you can protect your loved one’s rights, hold the responsible parties accountable, and seek compensation for any damages they have suffered.

After seeking medical attention and legal representation, document everything related to the incident. Collect any available evidence, such as medical records, incident reports, witness statements, and photographs. This documentation can build a solid case and prove negligence if necessary.

Remember to write down details of the accident, including the time, date, location, and any relevant conditions or factors that may have contributed to the fall.

Taking these proactive steps ensures your loved one receives the necessary medical care, legal representation, and support during this challenging time. Act swiftly and gather all the evidence required to build a strong case.

A skilled attorney specializing in nursing home negligence can guide you through this process and fight for justice on behalf of your loved one.

How a Nursing Home Injury Attorney Can Help You

If you or a loved one has suffered a broken hip in a nursing home, you may be wondering if it was due to negligence. Determining negligence in such cases can be complex, but seeking the help of an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of obtaining justice and compensation for your injuries.

In this section, we’ll explore how an attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

First and foremost, an attorney specializing in nursing home negligence cases will thoroughly understand the relevant laws and regulations. They will know the specific legal requirements that nursing homes must adhere to, including providing safe and adequate care for their residents.

This knowledge will allow them to assess whether negligence played a role in your broken hip and build a strong case to support your claim.

In addition to their legal knowledge, an attorney has the necessary resources to investigate your claim thoroughly. They can gather evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and any relevant documentation to establish the negligence of the nursing home staff or administrators.

This investigation can build a compelling case and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Furthermore, an attorney can help guide you through the complex legal process. They will handle all aspects of your case, from filing the necessary paperwork to negotiating with insurance companies or representing you in court. Having an attorney by your side will relieve you of the burden of handling legal matters on your own and ensure that your rights are protected and your best interests are represented.

One of the significant advantages of hiring a lawyer is their ability to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Unfortunately, insurance companies often attempt to minimize or deny the compensation they pay out to victims.

Without legal representation, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate a fair settlement. An attorney will be well-versed in the tactics used by insurance companies and will fight vigorously to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Finally, an attorney will be your advocate and provide the support and guidance needed during this difficult time. They understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a broken hip can have on an individual and their family.

By entrusting your case to an experienced nursing home injury attorney, you can focus on your recovery while knowing your legal rights are protected.

If you have suffered a broken hip in a nursing home, seeking the assistance of an attorney is crucial. They will have the legal experience, resources, and experience necessary to build a strong case on your behalf.

Hiring an attorney can increase your chances of obtaining justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted attorney to discuss your legal options and ensure your rights are protected.

Seeking Legal Help: Contact a Nursing Home Attorney Today

Suppose your loved one has experienced a broken hip in a nursing home.

Consult a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney . They can evaluate the injury’s circumstances and determine if negligence played a role. Reach out to an attorney today and let them help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.