If a patient in a geriatric psychiatric unit in a hospital suffers a fall, he or she will likely obtain an injury, ranging from a sprained wrist to a broken hip to a closed head injury. Any injury in the elderly can result in severe complications when not treated properly. It is for this reason that hospital staff must take every precaution possible to avoid falls in the first place. And, for those patients who do suffer falls, the staff must take great care to ensure immediate care of injuries and to limit additional complications.
Hip Fractures in Geriatric Psychiatric Patients
More than 95 percent of falls in older adults result in hip fractures. At its best, a hip fracture leads to lessened mobility. This immobility, however, can lead to greater reliance on others for daily activities, including feeding and bathing. It also can lead to extended hospital stays.
At its worst, a hip fracture leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Approximately 20 percent of all older adults who suffer a broken hip die within a year of the injury. Nearly one-third of all hip fracture patients pass away within two years.
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Head Injuries Caused by Falls in Geri-Psych Units
Head injuries are the most common injuries that older adults suffer from after they fall. Common head injuries include:
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Sustaining a head injury results in longer stays in the geriatric psych unit, or removal from that unit to an intensive care unit. In many cases, death can occur. Latest statistics show that 78 percent of all fall deaths in the elderly were due to traumatic brain injury.
Additional Complications of Fall Injuries
While broken hips and head injuries account for a majority of the injuries that patients suffer from after falls, there are numerous other complications that may arise, including:
- Illnesses such as pneumonia
- Muscle breakdown, which can lead to bed sores/pressure wounds
- Delirium and depression
- Malnutrition, which can lead to infection and dehydration
- Increased side effects from additional medication required to treat the injury
Geriatric psych nurses and doctors must take extreme precautions to avoid these and other complications after a patient fall. If your loved one has suffered a fall, and you believe his or her doctors are not taking enough steps to avoid further illness or injury, reach out to an injury attorney who can help you.
Contact us at (847) 869-9100 to make arrangements to discuss your case with our attorney today.