“I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up!”—It’s Not Funny, Kentucky

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Falls by Kentucky elderly people in hospitals or nursing homes are definitely not funny. When elderly people fall, they are much more likely to break bones, particularly hips, than are younger people. As we age, our bones weaken and are more prone to osteoporosis, increasing the likelihood of fractures.

According to A Place for Mom, about nine of every ten hip fractures occur in people older than 60 years. “Hip fractures double with every five-year increase in age [after age 50],” states Sandy Ganz, director of rehabilitation at Amsterdam Nursing Home in New York City.

Hip fractures in the elderly can have life-threatening complications. Although surgery can successfully repair breaks, healing can take as long as a year.

Risk Factors for Hip Fractures

Falling is the most common cause of hip fractures in elderly people. They may fall because:

  • They lose their coordination;
  • They have vision problems;
  • They have difficulty with balance; and
  • They become weak.

There are many risk factors for breaking a hip, including the following:

  • Osteoporosis. In the United States, approximately 10 million people have osteoporosis. The disease causes bones to weaken, thus making them more likely to break.
  • Gender. Women lose bone density more quickly than men because estrogen levels decrease after menopause.
  • Heredity. The people most likely to develop osteoporosis include small-boned, slender-framed people; Caucasians; and Asians.
  • Nutrition. Poor nutrition in childhood and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia increase the risk of hip fractures.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use. Smoking or drinking too much alcohol can damage bones.
  • Medications. Taking four or more medications at a time or taking psychoactive medicines contribute to the risk of falling.
  • Environmental hazards. Throw rugs and electrical wires; unstable furniture; poor lighting; and a lack of stair railings and grab bars increase the risk of tripping and falling.

Medical conditions. These conditions increase the risk of hip fractures, from either increasing the risk of falling or by causing bone loss:

  • Endocrine disorders, such as type 1 diabetes;
  • Gastrointestinal disorders;
  • Rheumatoid disorders;
  • Prolonged bed rest or immobility;
  • Nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis;
  • Dementia; and
  • Depression.

Symptoms of Hip Fracture

Someone who has broken a hip usually realizes it immediately. Several symptoms indicate a fracture, including:

  • Severe pain in the hip or groin area;
  • Inability to walk;
  • Stiffness, contusions, or inflammation in the hip area; or
  • The leg on the side of the broken hip appearing shorter or turning outward.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.