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Facial Injuries Common Among Nursing Home Residents

Reuters reported earlier this year about the prevalence of facial injuries among individuals residing in nursing homes. According to a team who published its research in a recent issue of JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, over 20,000 people living in nursing homes in the United States sustained serious injuries to their faces last year. Most facial injuries occurred as a result of falling and hitting hard surfaces, or falling while getting in and out of bed. Given our aging population and the fact that there are now 1.4 million Americans already in nursing homes, the researchers find it essential that nursing homes and similar facilities take steps to identify preventable injuries and work on strategies to avoid them.

Facial injuries tend to cause a great deal of pain and disability. These injuries also can impact basic functions in older Americans like speech, swallowing, vision, and even breathing. Furthermore, facial injuries are more prevalent than ever, thanks to a steadily increasing and aging population of nursing home residents. Between 2011 and 2015, researchers found that almost 110,000 over the age of 60 who were living in nursing homes suffered facial injuries requiring nursing home care. Half of these patients were over the age of 84, and 65% of the patients were female.

The most common facial injuries are deep cuts and skin tears, which made up 44% of the total number of facial injuries. Another 44% of these injuries involved soft tissue injuries, including deep bruising and the tearing of patches of skin. Bone fractures occurred in 13% of facial injuries, with the most common fractures occurring in the nose and the eye socket. As indicated above, falling hitting hard surfaces, such as countertops, floors, and doors, was the most common source of facial injuries. Another 23% of facial injuries occurred when a patient attempted to get in or out of bed.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered substantial injuries, whether physical, emotional, or financial, while under the care of those who are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin home health care abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.