The senior population is most at risk of sustaining serious head trauma and physical injuries in fall accidents. Their age, declining health and other factors often create balance and mobility issues that increase the chances of falling even where there are minimal environmental hazards around.
In nursing homes, there are often many fall risks for residents, and a fall could be a sign that nursing home staff are abusing or neglecting residents.
Causes of fall accidents
Falls are often a result of environmental hazards such as the following:
- Poor lighting
- Uneven or slick surfaces
- Missing or broken handrails and steps
- Improper bed and furniture heights
- Mobility aids that are in poor condition
Falls are also more likely to occur to seniors who suffer from physical and cognitive challenges, use certain medications and do not receive proper mobility support and care from nursing home staff.
Staffing issues, poor management and unqualified or negligent staff are among the reasons why some nursing home residents end up with preventable traumatic brain injuries.
Head injuries caused by nursing home falls
Seniors are more vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries in falls, and they are also more prone to permanent damage from traumatic brain injury. One study indicates concussions that do not cause unconsciousness can double the chances that a senior will develop dementia, and if the fall does cause unconsciousness, it quadruples the risk.
Signs of head trauma from fall accidents
There may be little outward indication that a nursing home resident has suffered a TBI in a fall. Bruising and broken bones elsewhere on the body may seem like the more urgent issue. But in the days following the fall, family members should watch for signs of confusion, agitation and weakness that may point to a TBI. Without immediate and proper care, head injuries that arise out of fall accidents can become life-altering and lead to premature death.