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Nursing home residents at risk for facial injuries after falls

When West Virginia families admit their elderly loved ones into nursing homes, they expect the staff and facilities to keep the residents safe and free from injuries. However, a study found that traumatic facial injuries are common among nursing home residents due to falls.

Researchers found that there were 109,795 nursing home residents over the age of 60 who needed emergency care for fall injuries that resulted in facial trauma over a five-year period. While lacerations and soft-tissue injuries were the most common, 12 percent of the cases involved fractures to the nose and eye sockets. The injuries were most commonly caused by contact with fixed furniture located throughout the nursing home facility and from getting into and out of bed.

Although many of these types of accidents are considered to be preventable, they can be severe enough to cause serious injury, disability or even death, especially if the nursing home resident is already in fragile health. The study ultimately concluded that these accidents were a substantial contributor to care expenditures and there was room for improvement. For example, the transfer to and from bed is an area where healthcare staff can prevent more fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents caused by known hazards can result in serious or even life-threatening injuries to nursing home residents. If the nursing home is aware that the property has hazards that can cause a potential slip and a resident suffers facial trauma as a result, the family may have the grounds to file a premises liability claim against the nursing home facility. An attorney may help the family prove that the facility premises are not safe for residents through accident patterns.

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