Families in Baltimore County and across the state of Maryland demonstrate concern about the care their loved ones receive in nursing homes. Bone fractures occur in large numbers, and families want answers.
Common injuries from nursing home falls include broken ankles, vertebrae, wrists, hips, and shoulders. Psychiatric or neurological conditions increase vulnerability in elderly patients. Sedatives or other drugs combined with weak bones can increase balance issues. Some ambulatory patients are at risk of fractures while attempting to reach the bathroom.
The cause and effect of fractures in elderly patients
Bone weakness conditions like osteoporosis are the primary culprit in fractures for the elderly. Other risks for breaking bones include slick surfaces and unassisted walking. Older people are independent and might overestimate their ability to manage independently. Broken bones in the hip, neck, back and shoulder often require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation. Adding chronic pain and medication to relieve the pain can add to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
The age factor in common fractures
People over 50 are more likely to break a bone due to a fall. Arthritis conditions affect a person’s gait and the ability to catch themselves or brace for a fall. Older people between 65 and 75 are at increased risk of common fractures, and those over 80 will likely experience at least one fracture requiring serious medical treatment.
Quality of life after a common fracture
Common fractures, such as wrist or ankle breaks, generally heal well, and patients can return to their pre-injury mobility. Others might need a device such as a walker, cane or sling. More serious injuries might require significant lifestyle adjustments like a brace or wheelchair. Recovering from a broken bone is possible and the long-term outlook is excellent.