A nursing home resident sits dangerously close to the fireplaceThere came a time when your loved one could no longer care for herself. You worried about her safety at home, and, together, you made the difficult decision to find a reputable nursing home where she could live comfortably, with dignity, and most importantly safely.

You never expected to get the call telling you that your loved one had suffered a burn injury.

How Burn Injuries Happen in Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents should be safe from burn injuries. However, when nursing home staff members are negligent or abusive then serious burn injuries can result. A burn injury could happen if, for example:

  • Your loved one is served food or drink that is too hot. While food and drink should be served warm, when appropriate, reasonable measures should be in place to prevent temperature-related injuries.
     
  • The water for your loved one’s bath or shower is too hot. Staff members who assist residents with bathing should check the water temperature before allowing a resident to get wet.
     
  • Your loved one has access to an appliance—such as a coffee pot, microwave, or hairdryer—but is unable to use it safely. For example, your loved one may be too frail or may have dementia and be unable to use the appliances safely. Nursing home staff should be aware of the risks and take action to prevent injuries.
     
  • Fires. Fires can be very dangerous in nursing homes. It may be difficult to evacuate residents quickly due to mobility restraints. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that there were approximately 2,700 nursing home fires in this country between 2012 and 2014. It is estimated that these fires resulted in about five deaths and 125 injuries per year.

Any of these causes can result in a burn injury, but not all burn injuries are the same.

Different Degrees of Burn Injuries

A burn’s severity is described in degrees. This helps determine a burn victim’s prognosis and guide the treatment plan. The different types of burns include:

  • First degree burns. These are the least serious of the different types of burns and only affect the outer layer of skin. Skin may appear red or dry, but it will not blister, and long-term complications are unlikely.
     
  • Second degree burns. These types of burns impact the outer layer of skin and part of the dermis layer of the skin. The affected skin may be red, blistered, swollen, and painful.
     
  • Third degree burns. These burns are also known as full thickness burns and go through the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. The affected area may be white or charred, and significant health risks may result.
     
  • Fourth degree burns. These burns may be fatal. The nerve endings are destroyed and, therefore, there is no sensation in the area of the burn. In addition to extensive skin damage, the bones, muscles, and tendons may also be affected.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention so that a prompt diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan can be developed.

Prompt Medical Treatment Is Important

Medical treatment should be individualized based on your loved one’s specific injury and overall health. Some treatment options include:

  • Fluid resuscitation.
  • Close monitoring of respiratory and cardiovascular health.
  • Pain control.
  • Wound care to prevent infection.
  • Surgery.
  • Nutritional support.
  • Rehabilitation.

It is important to get your loved one the treatment that she needs and to consider your loved one’s legal options.

Protect Your Loved One’s Legal Recovery After a Nursing Home Burn Injury

Your loved one’s medical bills may be significant and she may require a greater level of care after her burn injury—if she survives her burn injury. If nursing home negligence or abuse caused your loved one’s injury, then she has the right to pursue a legal recovery. Likewise, if your loved one died from her burn injuries, then her estate has the right to pursue a legal recovery.

To protect this recovery, it is important to take action. Our experienced nursing home abuse legal team can investigate what happened, advise you of your loved one’s rights, and fight hard to get her the full and fair compensation that she deserves. Take the first step toward this recovery today by contacting us via this website or by phone and scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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