When adults reach 65 years old, some of the most common injuries that occur are often caused by accidental falls. However, it is significant that while five percent of adults 65 and older live in nursing homes, twice as many nursing home residents suffer from falls than older adults who do not live in nursing homes. Because of this, it is important for these types of facilities to take precautions to protect our loved ones who reside in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The Impact of Falls
After an elderly resident falls, they often suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding, all of which can have long-term health consequences. Nursing home falls often occur when environmental hazards exist, such as wet floors, poor lighting, and incorrect bed height. Residents may also receive medications that affect the central nervous system, including sedatives and anti-anxiety medications that cause drowsiness and disorientation leaving residents more susceptible to a fall.
When nearly 1,800 people living in nursing homes are dying from falls each year, a facility that fails to take measures to prevent resident falls can often be found negligent.
To prevent injuries, there are many commonsense measures the nursing home staff can, and should, incorporate into care that can significantly decrease the likelihood of a fall, such as:
- Identifying residents at risk for falls, especially those with poor vision, gait disturbances, physical weakness, low blood pressure, incontinence or a history of falls.
- Noting specific interventions in the care plans of high-risk residents to help prevent falls.
- Instituting a facility-wide fall prevention program that identifies residents with a higher risk of falling and providing the list to nursing staff to more closely monitor these residents.
- Instructing residents on the proper use of call systems.
- Teaching staff safe-transfer techniques from beds, chairs, the toilet, and wheelchairs.
- Utilizing exercise as a means of improving resident strength, balance, and coordination.
Many kinds of equipment and technology are available that can be utilized in facilities to help prevent falls and injuries associated with falling. Some examples include:
- Floor mats
- Gait belts
- Hip pads
- Nonslip shoes and shower mats
- Grab bars and handrails
- Beds at lower heights
- Walkers and canes
Nursing home falls ARE preventable. If you suspect your loved one was injured due to the negligence of a nursing home or long-term care facility, it is important to learn more about their legal rights and possible recovery and to hold the facility liable for the harm that has been done. For more information, download a free copy of Hupy and Abraham’s Ultimate Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims HERE.
If your loved one has fallen in a nursing home, they may be justified in making a nursing home negligence claim, and Hupy and Abraham is here to help. For more information, please contact a nursing home abuse attorney at Hupy and Abraham by calling 800-800-5678 or start a live chat 24/7 at Hupy.com.