Falls are among the most common injuries in nursing homes among the elderly. Statistics show that nearly thousands of California and Washington residents succumb to fatal injuries because of fall-related injuries. Elderly people are at a greater risk of severe injuries because of osteoporosis, which can make the bones very fragile. This makes the injuries longer to heal and leaves them open to infections.
Most Nursing Home Falls Go Unreported
The majority of nursing homes and care facilities don’t report fall accidents, even to the resident’s loved ones. On average, most accidents can be prevented with the right measures. However, short staffing and other measures of cutting costs prevent nursing home facilities from protecting their residents. Wandering is a leading cause of slip and fall accidents in nursing homes. Older individuals find it difficult to be conscious of their physical abilities. They may attempt to stand up and walk without knowing their capabilities. Medication plays another major role in fall accidents. There are certain psychotropic drugs and other medications that can impact normal brain functioning. These medications cause confusion, drowsiness, and sedation. Fall accidents because of medications are particularly common in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Another reason for fall accidents is poor hearing or vision. The elderly are more susceptible to decreased physical ability and illness. This affects their balance. Untidy living spaces or poor lighting only contribute to the trip and fall. All of these causes are preventable if the nursing home is properly managed and run. With that said, most nursing homes for fear of liability issues don’t report fall accidents.
Preventing Nursing Home Falls
The easiest way of preventing falls is through supervision. This is especially important in the case of residents that suffer from cognitive issues or use canes and walkers. Reliable nursing homes would assess a resident for fall risk when admitted to the facility. This is so that higher-risk residents can be monitored and assisted by the nursing home staff. Nursing homes should also install bed alarms and call lights for preventing the residents from wandering about. They should take measures so that poor lighting, unkempt floors and other environmental dangers are appropriately eliminated. Staff should make sure the residents have suitable walking aids and proper shoes.
Other preventative methods include examining the medications. You can speak with your loved one’s doctors and pharmacists about alternatives if they are on drugs that induce confusion, drowsiness, or sedation. You can also ensure that your elderly loved one gets a regular eye exam and new glasses when required. The nursing home can include exercises in the daily routine for improving strength and coordination. They can also make the living space more comfortable and safer by removing objects and clutter that may cause someone to trip and fall. You should let the nursing facility know if the resident has ever taken a fall before or if they have certain conditions that make them susceptible to such accidents.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney Today
We can help you understand your legal rights if your loved one suffered neglect or abuse at a nursing home care facility. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (866) 338-7079 or fill out this online contact form.