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Unfortunately, your or others loved ones may not receive the care they deserve in a nursing home (or assisting living) facility.  Just recently, during the COVD-19 pandemic, 184,000 people lost their lives in nursing homes, which represents almost a third of the 600,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19.  The problem with these large numbers, is that infection control problems were omnipresent prior to the pandemic with “82 percent of surveyed nursing homes between 2013 and 2017 [being] cited for infection protocol violations.” (AARP).  The nursing home industry was clearly not prepared, or failed to take the steps necessary to prepare themselves, for the benefit and protection of their residents, of a large-scale infection control issue, such as COVID-19. 

The hope is that your loved one has an injury free nursing home or assisted living residency.  If, however, they do suffer an injury or God forbid, a death, please feel free to contact us for a FREE case evaluation.  Please click here to access our “Free Case Evaluation” form, and we will be in touch within 24 hours of your case submission.  Or, feel free to text us at (205) 651-5808 or call us at (205) 259-1678.

Senior Adult and Nurse at a Care Facility

Infection control, however, is not the only issue potentially affecting your loved one.  Other issues, injuries or concerns to be on the lookout include those on the following list…

Top Ten Nursing Home Injuries you may see or encounter:

  • Sepsis – infection enters the bloodstream and may lead to organ failure – infection may enter an open wound due to lack of hygiene (failure to bath and/or perform proper perineal care) or a catheter may leak and enter an open wound or there may be a lack of infection control and/or failure to timely treat an infection.
  • Falls (witnessed or unwitnessed) – falls are fairly common in nursing homes with “10% to 25% result[ing] in hospital admission and/or fractures.” (Vu, Weintraub and Rubenstein).  Falls occurring while in the care of nursing home staff are likely to be due to the negligence or wantonness of nursing home staff.  Nearly 100% of the time, there is something that the staff member should have done to prevent the resident from being injured when they are in the presence of the resident.  A response by the nursing home that “falls happen,” is not appropriate.  Also, a fall claimed to be “unwitnessed” may have actually been a witnessed fall where the witness fails to report what they saw and/or the unwitnessed fall may have been foreseeable, but conditions and/or symptoms were left unaddressed, therefore potentially making the nursing home negligent and/or wanton for the fall and resulting injury.  Each fall must be evaluated independently to determine the ultimate reason for the fall, including, but not limited to any negligence and/or wantonness on behalf of the nursing home.  Nevertheless, it is never appropriate for a resident to fall due to lack of care, failure to properly or timely assess, failure to timely or properly address a change in condition, failure to care plan, failing to care plan appropriately, failure by the nursing home staff to intervene, provide care or assistance thus causing the resident to take their needs into their own hands, failure to address the needs of the resident, failing to properly address their environmental and/or equipment safety, and/or failing to implement the care plan.  In other words, a fall resulting in a serious injury is likely to be preventable, if the nursing home intervenes appropriately and meets the standard of care.  Common injuries resulting from a fall include:  (1) broken hip/pelvis; (2) head injury – bump or laceration on head and/or more serious internal brain bleed, swelling and/or hematoma; (3) broken leg(s), broken arm(s), and/or fractured sacrum (butt-bone); (4) broken neck in the cervical region of the spinal cord (below the base of the skull) due to severe impact of head on furniture or with the floor or wall; and (5) death.  These injuries are not pleasant to think about, are often devastating, and are likely to lead to death (even if they begin as a serious personal injury), so it is very important to contact us as soon as these injuries occur so that we may preserve any potential claims.    
  • Pressure sore or Pressure Ulcer – these injuries are often due to lack of turning or repositioning the resident and/or lack of proper or necessary nutrition.  These wounds vary in degree of severity, but generally, they have pungent smells/odor, are painful to the resident and have a horrible appearance.  These wounds, if not timely and appropriately addressed, may lead to other complications (such as Sepsis) and/or death. 
  • Choking – some residents have difficulty swallowing, thus, they have dietary restrictions.  If these restrictions are not followed by nursing home staff, it may lead to an incident where the resident chokes, a piece of food becomes lodged in their throat and/or death (due to lack of oxygen).  It is important that a nursing home resident receive the proper diet as recommended by the dietician and/or doctor. 
  • Dehydration – some residents are totally dependent on the nursing home staff for hydration.  If the nursing home staff fails to ensure that the resident is receiving sufficient and timely hydration, it may lead to dehydration.  Dehydration may lead to acute kidney injury and/or death.  Something as simple as fluids being administered to a resident may not occur, on multiple occasions, leading to dehydration
  • Feeding tube or Peg tube – a surgeon will insert the feeding tube, but it must be properly maintained by nursing home staff.  The tube must be flushed and if it becomes dislodged, it has to be properly reinserted otherwise food contents may end up into body tissues rather than into the stomach. Also, a loved one should not lose weight while on a feeding tube.  If they are losing weight, it may be a sign that the tube is not functioning properly or that the nursing home staff is not addressing the needs of the resident timely or properly.  
  • Catheter – if a resident has an indwelling catheter (a/k/a Foley catheter) they must be timely removed and replaced.  Failure to do so may result in leakage or other problems or complications and if there is an open wound the leakage may result in sepsis. 
  • Failure to change bandage – believe it or not bandage changes may not timely occur leading to serious complications.  Also, the bandage may be placed too tightly creating pressure or restricting blood flow.  Proper wound treatment includes proper bandaging and bandage replacement, and if those things do not occur, it may lead to serious injury.
  • Lack of infection control – it goes without saying that infection control is not a misnomer.  It can and does occur when proper techniques are used and/or implemented.  Further, proper infection control may save the life of your loved one or other residents.  A simple or addressable complication of a resident in a nursing home may become life threatening, if proper infection control techniques are not utilized, especially if a resident has an open wound.
  • Medication – wrong medication, too much medication, failure to administer medication – in a resident chart there are often orders for certain medications.  Included with the order is how and when the medication should be administered, the duration and the amount of medication to be administered.  If the nursing home staff fails to administer the correct medication, in the correct amount and at the correct time, it may lead to serious injury and/or death to the resident.  Additionally, if a resident suffers a fall and hits their head, certain medications may need to be discontinued, at least temporarily, to not further complicate any internal bleeding.  Failure to do so could lead to death.  Finally, if medications are administered along with other medications when there is a warning to not administer these medications simultaneously or concurrently, the resident may suffer serious injury and/or death.    

The hope is that your loved one has an injury free nursing home or assisted living residency.  If, however, they do suffer an injury or God forbid, a death, please feel free to contact us for a FREE case evaluation.  Please click here to access our “Free Case Evaluation” form, and we will be in touch within 24 hours of your case submission.  Or, feel free to text us at (205) 651-5808 or call us at (205) 259-1678.


Photo courtesy of:

New York Times and Reuters


Quotations and Background courtesy of:



Vu, Weintraub and Rubenstien, “Falls in the nursing home: are they preventable?”, J. Am. Med. Dir. Assoc.  2004 Nov-Dec; 5(6); 401-6.,as%20environmental%20assessment%20and%20modification.