While people in Illinois may expect their elderly loved ones’ nursing homes to take precautions to prevent them from falling, falls occur all too often in long-term care facilities. Whether simply an unfortunate accident or the result of neglect on the part of the nursing homes, older residents could suffer serious injuries, including head trauma, due to a nursing home fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half of the more than one in four older adults who fall each year tell their physicians about the incidents. Identifying traumatic brain injuries early may be vital in helping people ensure that their loved ones get the care they need to avoid potentially fatal complications.
Common signs of traumatic brain injuries
A sudden jolt, hitting their heads upon landing, or other such factors may cause people who fall to suffer traumatic brain injuries. Depending on the type and severity of the trauma they suffer, those with such injuries may exhibit a range of signs, including the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Unusual sleepiness or tiredness
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
The Mayo Clinic points out that traumatic brain injuries may also cause cognitive or memory symptoms. These may include significant confusion, mood swings or changes in mood, unusual combativeness or agitation, feelings of depression or anxiety, or problems with concentration and memory.
Report suspected neglect
Some falls in the nursing home setting result from neglect on the part of the caregivers or facility. If people suspect that their loved ones suffered head trauma as a result of such nursing home neglect, they may inform the facility or choose to make a formal report of their concerns to the appropriate government entity. The programs and agencies that handle suspected abuse or neglect in long-term care facility complaints include the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state’s senior helpline, the regional ombudsman, the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Unit or the state’s Healthcare and Family Services for Supportive Living Facility Complaints department.
Should they feel their loved ones face immediate danger, family members should call 911 and notify law enforcement of their concerns.