While falling in a nursing home is not an absolute sign of abuse or neglect, most elderly residents of nursing homes should receive appropriate monitoring and care to ensure that those that struggle with mobility do not ever suffer from injuries or death due to falls.
If your elderly loved one fell and suffered injuries or even death, and you believe there may be a reason to suspect elder neglect or abuse at the hands of their nursing home, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your legal rights. Find out how a Forest View falls lawyer can help.
Assessing Fall Risks
Every resident of a nursing home should receive an assessment regarding their risk of falling. Some residents are completely mobile and have no difficulty walking, sitting, or moving in any way. Other elderly residents may be either bedridden, confined to a wheelchair, or unable to safely walk to the bathroom or through the facility. Every resident’s care plan should include a specific section that evaluates their fall risk. An elderly resident receives an assessment regarding their strength, balance, mobility, cognitive dysfunction (for example, dementia), impaired vision, or medications. All of these are measured to assess any motor issues or poor reaction times.
Additionally, along with assessing an individual elderly resident’s fall risk, a complete care plan should include whether they need a walker, cane, or wheelchair. It is also important to know if they are able to easily get in and out of bed independently, or if they need additional items such as a grab bar or rails.
With these measures in place, falls can be prevented, according to the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
Falls Related to Nursing Home Neglect
Some falls are simply accidents, and unintentional or accidental in nature, and occurred through no fault or negligence of the nursing home staff. A nursing home resident with full mobility could slip and fall due to some distraction, just the same as a healthy adult who may slip and fall. However, the nursing home has an obligation and responsibility to carefully monitor each resident to reduce any chances of falling to the best extent possible. Some ways that nursing home victims may fall and suffer severe injuries or death include the following:
- Failure to provide adequate lighting in hallways and walkways.
- Lack of guardrails or handrails.
- Under medication or over medication leading to dizziness or cognitive dysfunction.
- Lack of supervision during activities or when a resident needs to go to the bathroom, get out of bed or a wheelchair, or go to a different part of the facility such as a dining room.
- Inappropriate activities that the nursing home residents are unable to safely participate in or perform.
- Improper training of nursing home staff.
- Wet floors or hazardous conditions in the nursing home.
- Improper positioning of the nursing home resident in the bed, wheelchair, or chair.
There are many circumstances under which a nursing home could fail in their duty to supervise, monitor, and assist patients, causing them to fall and suffer injuries or even death. These cases are examples of elder neglect, where the nursing home failed to appropriately supervise their residents, and their negligence led to injury or even death.
For a free legal consultation with a Falls Lawyer serving Forest View, call (800) 794-0444
Protocols to Prevent Falls
Many nursing homes have specific protocols to ensure that their elderly and fragile residents do not suffer falls. If your elderly loved one suffered a fall in a nursing home, you should request to see if they have a written policy or program that lists any of the following protocols.
- Bathroom checks – Ensure higher-risk residents receive frequent checks to ensure that they have access to the bathroom with assistance whenever necessary.
- Bed position – Ensure that the bed is at an appropriate height so that the resident can easily get in and out of the bed without struggling.
- Bed rails – If necessary, ensure that the bed has rails to prevent the resident from attempting to leave the bed without proper assistance.
- Bed alarms – If necessary, place alarms on the bed so that if the resident attempts to leave the bed without assistance, the nursing home staff is immediately alerted.
- Appropriate staffing – Every nursing home should have appropriate staffing at all times to ensure that residents receive constant monitoring and that their needs and requests receive attention in a timely fashion, and that they are able to seek assistance at any time to go to the bathroom or other areas of the facility.
- Protocol after fall – If a nursing home resident falls, the staff should immediately contact the attending physician to assess any possible injuries as well as contact family members to alert them of their loved one’s fall.
If you do not see any types of protocols in place regarding falls at the nursing home, your elderly loved one may have suffered from elder neglect or abuse by the nursing home. Contact a Forest View falls lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your next steps.
Forest View Falls Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Consequences of Nursing Home Falls
When a healthy adult falls, they typically bruise or even break or fracture a bone, and then heal quickly. When elderly nursing home residents fall, they may suffer long-term or permanent medical consequences. They may lose even more mobility than they previously had or never fully heal completely from bone breaks or fractures. If a fall causes any significant medical injuries, they may have to stay in bed for a long period of time, which may lead to serious bedsores, which can become infected.
If a nursing home resident loses the ability to walk or move freely after a fall, oftentimes, their general health will decline along with their mobility due to a decline in their muscle function. Depression can set in for those residents who have permanently lost their mobility. Ultimately, when an elderly nursing home resident falls and is seriously injured, they may face months, years, or a lifetime of additional damages.
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If you know or suspect your elderly loved one fell in a nursing home due to the nursing home staff’s negligence, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your loved one’s legal rights.