Falls and Nursing Home Residents
Falls are a common reason for patients to go into a nursing home. People often treat falls as an inevitable part of the aging process; however, this is an exaggeration. Yes, falls can accompany elderly adults, but sometimes they can be prevented. It’s important to understand the dangers associated with falls, the factors that contribute to falls, and how to prepare accordingly.
What Causes Falls in Elderly Adults?
Sometimes when you ask an elderly adult what happened, they aren’t aware of what caused them to fall. Many nursing home residents state that they felt “weird” or “funny” and then fell. However, there is typically some underlying cause that led to the fall; therefore, it’s significant to understand the circumstance for when a fall tends to happen.
There is a breakdown in the reasoning for falls. The first category has to do with the patient’s health issues, while the other category has to do with external, environmental factors. Both types of issues are relevant in the nursing home setting.
Some of the reasons for falls include:
- The side effects of medication and various medications can significantly increase a person’s chance of being injured in a fall
- Poor lower extremity strength
- The general decline in an elderly adult’s overall condition
- Declines in vision can make it difficult to see or notice the dangers associated with falls
- Inadequate lighting and uneven floor or carpeting can make it more likely for someone to get hurt in a fall
- Chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions can negatively affect an individual’s joint integrity, physical strength, and chronic function
- Surgeries, such as hip replacements can help weaken an individual’s body, making them vulnerable to getting injured in falls
What Can be Done to Help Prevent Falls?
There are various strategies that the nursing home staff and management can use to prevent falls, including:
- Balance and strength training
- Correcting arrhythmia
- Correcting Vitamin D deficiency
- Decreasing the use of psychotropic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant medications, and sedatives
- Environmental modifications, including repairing loose flooring or carpeting
- Physical therapy
- Tai Chi
- Treating vision and hearing impairments
As a family member of a nursing home resident, you can also do your part to help ensure your loved one’s safety from the threat of falling. You will want to check in with your family member and the facility’s staff regularly. Make sure that the upkeep of the building is maintained and free of loose floors and carpeting or other physical hazards that cause pose a threat. Keep track of medications and try to see if the treatment plan can reduce medications if it’s possible and safe to do so.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Attorney
While there are many things that caregivers and institutions should do to help prevent falls, sometimes they happen anyway. If your relative was involved in a fall and suffered as a result, you may need to investigate the incident. If you believe that the nursing home was negligent, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced Walton Law attorneys for help. Contact us right away for more information.