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Nursing home neglect and traumatic brain injuries

At the Law Firm of Edmiston & Colton in Montana, we know how difficult it is when you must make the decision to place your aging parent in a nursing home. Even though (s)he needs the care that the facility provides and that you cannot provide yourself, you nevertheless worry that the staff may neglect or even abuse him or her.

Academic Life in Emergency Medicine points out that accidents, particularly falls, occur in even the most well-managed nursing homes. When they do, the elderly patients have a high risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury when they fall.

TBI symptoms

A traumatic brain injury is one that causes your parent’s brain to malfunction in some manner. If (s)he hits his or her head on the floor or a piece of furniture or equipment during the fall, this head injury has a high likelihood of resulting in a TBI. The consequences could be disastrous depending on which part of his or her brain is injured and the severity of that injury.

TBI symptoms often do not appear until hours, days or even weeks after the injury. Therefore, if you suspect or know that your parent took a recent fall, try to visit him or her as often as possible for the next few weeks and be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • (S)he has difficulty speaking or uses the wrong words
  • (S)he has difficulty understanding what you say
  • (S)he makes inappropriate responses to your comments and questions
  • (S)he has difficulties reasoning, remembering or generally thinking
  • (S)he is unusually anxious or depressed
  • (S)he is unusually cranky or exhibits unusually aggressive or combative behavior

Why patients fall

The most common reason why nursing home patients fall is because no one helped them when they needed help. For instance, when your parent needs to go to the bathroom, (s)he may not have the strength or coordination to walk there alone. Assuming (s)he knows this, (s)he pushes her buzzer or call light to alert someone that (s)he needs help. If no one comes to help, however, (s)he likely will try to walk to the bathroom unaided. This is exactly when (s)he is most likely to fall. Such nursing home neglect may not rise to the level of abuse, but it definitely can cause your parent to sustain a fall that results in a potentially catastrophic traumatic brain injury.

For more information on this subject, please visit this page of our website. 

 

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