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A CT scan of a subdural hematoma from a fall in a nursing home.

Head Injuries

Subdural Hematomas

A subdural hematoma, sometimes referred to as a brain bleed, is a collection of blood that forms on the surface of the brain. The blood may press against the brain and damage the tissue. The most common cause for a subdural hematoma is a head injury, whether from a traumatic fall or a violent attack. In some cases, less traumatic head injuries can also lead to subdural hematomas. It is believed that subdural hematomas occur in approximately 25% of all head injuries. When adjusted to account for an elderly population, that number likely increases significantly.

A subdural hematoma can be severe as a buildup of blood can cause pressure on the brain, leading to breathing problems, confusion, seizures, paralysis, strokes, and/or death. As such, it is critical for facilities, among other things, to screen residents for their fall risks, design an adequate and appropriate fall care plan, implement designated fall precautions, and revisit the care plan regularly and upon a change in the resident’s condition. It is also important for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to screen and monitor for violent residents to ensure residents are neither a danger to themselves nor others.


When a resident sustains a head injury, the facility should, among other things, conduct a post-fall assessment aimed at determining how the incident occurred and its impacts on the resident from a physical and cognitive standpoint. The assessment should continue for seventy-two (72) hours with detailed notes. The failure to conduct an adequate post-fall assessment generally leads to delayed diagnoses, delays in necessary treatment, and unnecessary pain and suffering.


If you believe your loved one sustained a head injury at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the experienced attorneys at FIDJ, before it’s too late.

*The information contained herein is not, and must not be construed as medical advice.

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