Sometimes when a resident of a nursing home suffers from a fall, the resident can break or injure his or her hip. Such injuries often require surgery and a long recovery, but residents can usually return to the nursing home within a few weeks of the surgery. Once back in the nursing home, the nursing home staff has a duty to provide assistance to the resident and take special care of the resident in light of the hip injury.
There are serious complications that can arise during recovery from a hip injury, especially if the hip injury causes the resident to be immobilized for a long period of time during recovery. For example, blood clots can form in the resident’s appendages (legs and arms) or could develop in the lungs, promoting pneumonia. Urinary tract infections can sometimes arise, as can bedsores. Nursing home staff needs to take extra care to monitor for early signs of such complications and take preventive measures so that these things do not happen. For instance, staff should regularly check and make sure that the resident is moved so that bedsores do not develop.
Elderly individuals who suffer from a hip injury are significantly more likely to fall again in the future. This makes sense, as while the individual is recovering from a hip injury, the hip may not work as well or the same as the individual is used to, and there may be numbness or medication side effects that make it difficult for the individual to maintain his or her balance. Nursing home staff should be taking care to assist the resident with mobility, getting up and out of bed, and getting into a wheelchair or to a walker, if the resident needs these devices to help him or her walk. Even if the resident’s hip injury was minor, or the resident seems to be doing alright mobility-wise post-surgery, the nursing home staff should be supervising the individual as he or she recovers. If there are any signs that the resident needs assistance, nursing home staff should immediately provide such assistance.
Post-hip surgery, some residents may express a fear of developing a dependency on the pain medications they need to take during recovery. Nursing staff should respect and acknowledge this concern, and discuss it with the resident, and explain how it is very important for the resident to take the medications as prescribed. Not taking the medication as required can severely retard the rate of successful healing and can derail the entire recovery. However, if the resident is insistent or becomes difficult or uncooperative when it comes to taking the medication, nursing home staff can reach out to or contact special pain control physicians or the resident’s orthopedic surgeon for further assistance with getting the resident to stay on the pain medications.
If you find yourself concerned that the nursing home staff is not taking adequate care to assist your loved one who recently suffered a hip injury at one of Illinois many nursing homes, please contact our Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Law Firm today at (800) 350-0646.
Jeremy Reither, How Long Does it Take to Recover From Hip Replacement Surgery?, 2009