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The Problem of Nursing Home Falls

Casey Woodruff
nursing home

The process of choosing a nursing home is a delicate one. People need to be sure that they can find a home that they can trust to care for elderly family members. Yet, nursing home abuse and neglect are serious problems in the industry today. Many nursing homes are profit-driven enterprises, which can encourage corner cutting.

One of the biggest problems that this corner cutting can cause is nursing home falls.   According to the CDC, about 1800 elderly adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries.  Fortunately, the law gives nursing home residents and their family members the right to pursue legal action against a nursing home when staff negligence causes a fall.  It is important for family members to be aware of the common causes of nursing home falls and the precautionary measures that nursing home should be taking to prevent falls from occurring.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls

There are numerous causes of nursing home falls, many of which stem from understaffing or other cost-cutting measures on the part of the nursing home. One of the most common issues is poor supervision of residents by nursing home staff.  Many residents need help moving around, and a well-staffed home can help residents move. Residents left on their own for too long who need food or to use the restroom may try to move on their own and end up hurting themselves because of the neglect.

Another common issue that can arise in the context of an understaffed nursing home is environmental hazards. Environmental hazards are things like spills, uneven floors, trailing electrical cords, and even poor lighting. These sorts of things can give rise to lawsuits even in the context of ordinary businesses. Their harm is only exacerbated in nursing homes with elderly residents who already have difficulty walking.

Preventing Nursing Home Falls

Ultimately, people should know what nursing homes should be doing in order to prevent falls.  The law requires nursing homes to perform an assessment of a resident’s fall risk when the resident begins living in the home.  This is one of the most important tools in preventing nursing home falls; however, many nursing homes perform this analysis in a cursory manner.

There are numerous factors specific to each resident that can make falls more likely, and nursing homes have an obligation to be aware of these conditions. One of the most common things that can cause residents to fall is prior medical conditions. This includes things like previous broken bones, balance problems, or mobility issues.  Another factor that contributes to a resident’s fall risk is medications that they are taking.  Certain medications may cause fainting, dizziness, seizures, and balance issues that the nursing home needs to be on guard to prevent.

Victims of nursing home falls should be aware of their legal rights. If you or a loved one has been injured by nursing home neglect, contact an Aurora personal injury attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Evans today.

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