Abuse or neglect at the hands of those charged with their care may cause nursing home residents to suffer broken neck injuries. Some cervical spine fractures may cause minor discomfort or mild symptoms, while others may lead to significant health complications or even death. A study published in the Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open found that one out of every four people over the age of 75-years-old die within one year of suffering broken neck injuries.
What are the Causes of Cervical Fractures in Las Vegan Nursing Homes?
Numerous factors contribute to nursing home residents suffering broken neck injuries. Of these factors, falls rank as perhaps the most common cause.
Some residents have a predisposition to falling due to factors such as health conditions that affect their balance or mobility or the use of certain medications. Other falls resulting in cervical fractures occur because of abuse or neglect on the part of nursing home facilities or staff. For instance, not providing physical assistance to fall-risk residents as they go to stand, pushing residents in wheelchairs too fast, or physically abusing residents may cause them to fall and potentially suffer serious broken neck injuries.
What Broken Neck Injuries are Common in the Nursing Home Setting?
The most common types of cervical injuries suffered by nursing home residents include odontoid fractures, central cord syndrome, and cervical extension or distraction injuries. Of these, odontoid fractures most commonly occur due to falls. When elderly residents fall and hit their heads, they may break the odontoid process, a bony element protruding from the C2 vertebrae.
When Can Nursing Homes and Staff Be Held Liable?
If broken neck injuries occur because of negligence or abuse, nursing home residents, or their families on their behalf may seek to hold the facilities or staff members financially responsible for their losses. Part of the job of providing care to elderly residents at such facilities involves keeping residents from harming themselves. For example, this may include keeping the floors free of clutter and clean of spills, using railings or encouraging the use of assistive devices, and limiting the use of medications that may affect residents’ balance or mobility to help prevent falls. Not taking the appropriate precautions to keep residents safe from such harm may qualify as a level of neglect, and therefore, open facilities or staff up to liability.