Falls in a Nursing Home

January 28, 2016

Falling down inside of a nursing home is not a rare occasion, whether it is a South Carolina resident or anywhere else in the country, falling is the cause of many of the most severe injuries seen among nursing home residents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that every year, around 1800 people die as a result of falls in nursing homes, and that between one half and two thirds of all nursing home residents will fall in any given year. This is two times the fall rate of elderly people who remain living at home. The average nursing home has 100 beds, and reports anywhere from 100 to 200 falls per year, according to the CDC. Many falls are not even reported.

Preventative Measures

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a responsibility to do whatever they reasonably can to prevent falls and to lessen the severity of any injuries sustained in a fall. Some of the more common safety precautions nursing homes can take that can help reduce the risk of falls are incorporating the use of of bed rails and grab bars, the use of walkers and wheelchairs, and in the most extreme cases, motion detectors that alert the nursing home staff when an at-risk patient is up and about. This would eliminate the entire category of falls which occur because a resident cannot get a staff member to help them get up and go to the bathroom. Medication errors also makes patients more likely to fall. Medication errors are either because of a mistake, or in instances where patients are over-medicated to keep them under control, such as with Alzheimer’s patients. Bedrails are another way to reduce the amount of falls in nursing homes. Bedrails themselves are not without controversy, but they are not against the law, and the risk of strangulation by a bedrail is far lower than the risk of death due to falling.

Why Nursing Home Falls Are so Prevalent

Muscle weakness and problems walking are the most common causes of falls in nursing homes, accounting for just under a quarter of all accidents. Environmental hazards such as wet floors, improperly maintained wheelchairs, poor lighting, and incorrect bed height cause another major percentage of nursing home falls (between 16 percent and 27 percent). A third major cause of nursing home falls is negligence; understaffing is the leading factor here. Not having enough staff to properly assist the residents is a bad idea, and invites falls and other negative results. Medicare and Medicaid do require nursing facilities to perform a fall risk assessment for every patient, but again, when facilities are understaffed, this assessment may not be done thoroughly or properly.

Call David Aylor Law Offices

If your loved one has fallen down in their nursing home and is suffering from injuries as a result, it is important to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney right away to assess the case and get your loved one the care and compensation they deserve. Call or email us now for a no obligation consultation, and let us help you with your strategy going forward.

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