Anyone can slip and fall, trip and fall, or simply lose their balance and fall. It happens to the children, to adults, and particularly to the elderly. In fact, one of the reasons you may need to consider placing a loved one in a nursing home could be the fact that they have grown more prone to falling down, and they are more vulnerable to injuries when this happens. That is part of the purpose of nursing homes, to provide a safe and supportive environment for the elderly to be well cared for and assisted with their daily needs. This very much includes the prevention of falls. When an elderly patient falls down, they are more likely to experience broken bones, brain injuries, and injuries that can lead to disability or death. It is important for you, as the loved one of an elderly nursing home resident, to know that these falls are preventable.
What Could Cause Someone to Fall Down in a South Carolina Nursing Home?
There are many ways that an elderly resident of a nursing home in South Carolina could end up with a fall injury, and some of them really are accidents in which a care provider could not respond quickly enough. For instance, your loved one might not be capable of getting around by themselves anymore, but they may also not have a clear understanding of their condition, so they may try anyway. In such cases, your loved one should be provided with adequate supervision and recognized as being at greater risk of falling down.
If your loved one should attempt to get out of bed or out of a wheel chair or to walk around without the aid of a necessary medical device (like a walker), there should be a member of the nursing staff nearby to offer quick assistance. Further, your loved one should not be put in a position where they have no option but to try to get around on their own. They should have a means of alerting the staff to their needs and should receive a quick response to assist them.
There are also cases where a nursing home resident may make use of medical devices, like wheel chairs, walkers, or canes, but that those devices might malfunction, break, or be defective, causing a fall. There have even been claims against bedrail manufacturers, which are regulated by the FDA, because the rails of hospital and nursing home beds have failed to meet FDA standards, and have caused injury due to defective design or manufacturing. There are also fixtures in showers, bath tubs, and toilet areas that are designed to make it easier for the elderly to get in and out of the tub or shower, and to use the bathroom. If these fixtures are not provided or if they are defective, then your loved one could fall because of this.
Other cases of falls in nursing homes have occurred while the nursing staff was attempting to lift and move a patient from one position or place to another, when the patient cannot do this on their own. They may be moved from a bed to a chair, for example. If the proper techniques for such maneuvers are not used, if mistakes are made, or if one of the staff members slips, themselves, then your loved one could be dropped, experiencing a serious fall injury.
Finally, there are situations that could occur almost anywhere, but should be attended to right away in nursing home facilities, like spills of liquids or objects creating hazards in walkways. Anyone can spill a drink or a drop a bottle of disinfectant. Many leave puddles of bathwater around the shower area of the bathroom. Anyone could drop a plate of food or knock down a shelf of books or a potted plant. Hazards like these must be addressed quickly to prevent falls.
The Nursing Home Staff Must Prevent Falls Through Caution and Attentiveness
When you place a loved one in a South Carolina nursing home facility, you trust the staff to provide proper supervision, take special caution, and assist your loved one with their needs and movement. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and have staff members who are not adequately trained for their positions. Still, it is the responsibility of the nursing home facility to address these issues and do everything they should to ensure that your loved one is cared for, supervised, and assisted at all times. Falling down may be a normal hazard of aging, but it is not an acceptable hazard in a nursing home facility. Falls can and should be prevented in nursing homes where the elderly are cared for and fall hazards are anticipated and addressed.
Meanwhile, as a loved one of an elderly nursing home facility resident, it is your responsibility to choose the best care by thoroughly researching the options before choosing a facility. Then, it is up to you to visit frequently, and to know if your loved one is being neglected or mishandled by the staff. If your loved one suffers an injury from falling down in a nursing home, you need to ask questions, find out why and how it happened, find out how the staff responded, and ask them exactly how they plan to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
If you are not satisfied with the answers you get, if the injuries are severe, if other suspicious injuries are present, or if it ever happens again, then you’re going to need to take action. This includes finding a better facility to care for your loved one and seeking compensation for the injuries and harm caused by the nursing home facility. It is important to hold nursing home facilities accountable for the injuries that occur while elderly residents are in their care.
Contact the determined South Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices to discuss your loved one’s injuries, how they could have been prevented, who is responsible, and how to hold the nursing home accountable for their actions or lack of adequate care.