In the hours following the fall, what may initially seem like a minor bump to the head can develop into a significant intracranial or brain bleed that can result in extensive disability, and even death.
If this does occur, the greatest chance of meaningful survival for the resident is dependent upon early detection and treatment of the intracranial or brain bleeding. If your loved one has fallen in nursing home, or has bumped their head in some other manner, ask that the nursing home take the following measures:
- First and foremost, ask that your loved one be assessed by a physician.
- Perform checks of the neurological system at least every four hours. This includes ensuring the patient’s pupils are the same size and are reactive to light. Sluggishness to one side or unequal size can indicate pressure on that side of the brain that may be caused by intracranial bleeding;
- Observe for a new onset of headache or pain, particularly around the area where bump to the head occurred.
- Observe for any signs of weakness or sluggishness, particularly if these occur on one side. This can also indicate pressure that may be caused by intracranial bleeding.
- Observe for any complaints of nausea or vomiting. When intracranial pressure increases, patients become extremely nauseated and will often vomit.
- Observe for a new onset of confusion or a change to their normal mental status. These can be a sign of dysfunction in the brain that may be caused by bleeding
- Observe for progressive sleepiness or somnolence not explained by other causes. These can be signs of increased pressure or dysfunction to the brain.
Remember, early detection is key to successful intervention and treatment. If the resident remains in the nursing home, many nursing homes do a 72 hour fall watch after a fall. Ask that they add these elements to their frequent checks of their loved one.
If you have any questions about symptoms of brain bleed and would like to speak to an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer, please contact me at (312) 263-1080. I welcome your call.