nursing home falls


Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys

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Nursing home falls represent 36 percent of preventable emergency room visits among nursing home residents. However, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nursing home falls go largely unreported. But, even with underreporting, the CDC receives between 100 and 200 reports of nursing home fall every year from average-sized nursing homes. When these injuries happen, they can lead to devastating disabilities for elderly residents. If you suspect nursing home neglect and abuse, contact a nursing home fall lawyer to discuss your loved one’s reduced quality of life after a fall.

The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years of experience standing up for our most vulnerable populations. Elderly citizens should be able to live in relative comfort in their final years. And their families should not have to worry about their wellbeing in a nursing home. Nursing home falls happen when the nursing home staff is negligent. Call us for a free consultation with one a nursing home fall lawyer.

The Dangers of Nursing Home Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries every year, and those who survive often suffer debilitating injuries from which they never fully recover. However, nursing home falls are often preventable if employees take the proper steps to supervise and protect residents under their care.

Most falls are a combination of risk factors. However, common risk factors should be noted by the nursing home staff. Common causes of falling in nursing homes include:

  • Older and have difficulty walking due to muscle and bone density loss
  • Medication side effects
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Uneven steps
  • Cognition problems
  • Blood pressure
  • Poor vision
  • Walking and balance problems

Nursing home falls frequently cause a disability, functional decline, reduced independence, and reduced quality of life for an elderly person. Patients with a fear of nursing home falls may also experience feelings of helplessness, loss of function, depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Because of these life-altering injuries, nursing home staff have a responsibility to prevent falls. When they are negligent in their duties, a qualified nursing home fall lawyer can help you hold them accountable.

Nursing Home Fall Injuries

Injuries sustained in nursing homes can be debilitating. For older people, falls can result in severe injuries like broken bones. As you age, bones can become more porous and fragile. Some injuries can be fatal. Some of the more serious injuries an elderly resident can sustain in a nursing home fall include:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Debilitating fear of falling

In less serious injuries, nursing homes staff and nursing home residents might not report fall injuries for various reasons. This is why it is important for family, friends and other staff to be on the lookout for any indication of fall-related injuries like bruises and abrasions. If you suspect your loved one has fallen, ask to see their resident’s chart. Fortunately, federal law requires long-term care facilities to provide a patient’s chart to relatives who are the acting as guardians. You have a legal right to see the chart.

If you suspect or find evidence that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect and has fallen, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our nursing home fall lawyer, Ernest Tosh, can help you decide whether or not a nursing home lawsuit is right for you. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

Elderly Falls by the Numbers

Falls are the leading cause of injury in adults 65 and older. Consequently, many people believe when their aging family members begin falling that it is time to put them in a nursing home for supervised care. However, studies show that the rates of falls in nursing homes and hospitals are nearly three times higher than those living in the home. More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of falls every year.

According to the CDC, falls are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions and average $30,000 in hospital costs. The cost for treating fall injuries goes up with age.

About 50 percent of nursing home residents fall each year. Of those falls, 10 to 25 percent experience some sort of serious injury. The CDC reports that falls occur more frequently among nursing home patients than elderly citizens living in the community. This may be partially due to the fact that nursing home patients typically have extenuating medical conditions, which forced them to move into the nursing facility prior to the fall. Nursing home patients may be older or less mobile than elderly persons living in the community. Residents of nursing homes may also experience severe problems with cognitive ability, chronic diseases, and an inability to perform daily tasks.

Nursing Home Fall Prevention

Falling is not a normal part of aging. In fact, there are specific things that should be done to reduce the chances of falling. Each patient should have their own adequate plan to prevent falling. Plans should include:

  • Walkers, canes or other walking aids
  • Assessment of a safe height for beds, chairs, and toilets
  • Positioning of grab bars and rails
  • Installation of cushioned surfaces

Nursing home staff play an important role in protecting the safety of residents as they move about the facility. When a nursing home admits a patient, staff must assess his or her risks for falls and identify and implement interventions to address these risks. Reassessments should occur after any fall or change in medical condition. Residents at risk should be monitored closely and receive assistance with transfers to prevent them from falling. Bed rails, non-skid footwear, appropriate armchair with wheels locked at the bedside, walkers and canes can also be included in a patient’s prevention plan. Additional steps to take to prevent falls include:

  • Getting rid of rugs that can be tripped over
  • Ensuring residents have grab bars in showers and tubs
  • Installing railing on both sides of stairs
  • Making sure the nursing home has proper lighting

By 2050, approximately 20 percent of all people will be 65 years or older. When that happens, nursing homes will become even more important in the not-so-far future. If your loved one has been injured from a fall at nursing home, a nursing home fall lawyer can help. Together we can hold at-fault parties accountable and make sure the future residents can live their twilight years without fear.

Liability of Nursing Home Falls

It is important to note that not every fall is preventable. Additionally, not every injury will lead to a viable personal injury lawsuit. However, there are plenty of cases that can be attributed to negligence. For example, as many as one-quarter of nursing falls are because of environmental hazards such as wet or slippery floors.  By contacting a qualified nursing home fall lawyer, we can help you determine if the nursing home was negligent or failed to prevent a fall. While this a broad net to cast, the following are examples of likely liability:

  • Failure to develop an adequate fall prevention plan
  • Improper care techniques
  • Failure to assess, reassess or modify the resident’s care plan
  • Understaffing
  • Hiring unqualified employees
  • Providing insufficient training
  • Failure to address hazardous conditions such as wet floors, inadequate lighting and defective flooring
  • Failure to provide care in accord with the fall prevention plan

This is not an exhaustive list of the kind of negligence that can occur in nursing homes. A nursing home fall lawyer can help you determine whether or not you have a viable personal injury lawsuit. If you believe you or your loved one was injured as an act of negligence contact The Carlson Law Firm as soon as possible.

Understaffing Effects on Residents

More than 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. In fact, studies show that residents in understaffed facilities are at a higher risk for malnutrition, weight loss, bedsores, dehydration, infections, pneumonia and falls. This leads to a less attentive staff for residents with fall risks. Understaffing can also lead nursing home staff dropping residents during transfers.

Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is the main underlying causes of elder neglect. It is a national issue. However, it is no excuse for residents to suffer falls. A side effect of understaffing is nurses often don’t have time to pay attention to detail which can lead to mistakes, injuries and deaths. If each patient is able to get adequate attention then nursing home mistakes and neglect wouldn’t happen.

Additionally, staff in nursing home facilities are exhausted after working long hours. Administrators may push nurses and other staff members to work quickly and for as long as possible. In some cases, when the staff is overworked and stressed it can lead to them taking their frustrations out on residents.

If you notice that your elderly loved one is suffering because of understaffing, you can take action. You can hold the nursing home responsible for the abuses and neglect that occurs as a result of understaffing. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a nursing home choking lawyer about your loved one’s condition.

How A Carlson Law Firm Nursing Home Fall Lawyer Can Help

When nursing homes fail to implement proper precautions to address a resident’s risk for falls, and the resident is injured, family members should take action. Although some falls are unavoidable, oftentimes falls in nursing homes are a sign of nursing home negligence. We have handled many cases where residents have suffered serious injuries as a result of under-staffing in long-term care facilities. When staff cannot properly supervise monitor residents, fall-related injuries are more likely to occur.

If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should take action quickly and contact a nursing home fall lawyer to set up a free consultation.

We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.