Falls in Nursing Homes
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Nursing home residents are at an increased risk of falling and suffering permanent disability or even death. Injuries from falls account for 36% of preventable visits to emergency rooms by nursing home patients.
Consider these statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Up to 27% of falls occur due to environmental hazards (ex: slippery floors)
- Up to 75% of residents suffer from a fall every single year
- 35% of elderly fall injuries are to those who cannot walk
- Up to 20% of falls at nursing homes result in serious injuries
- Up to 6% of nursing home falls result in bone fractures
- Approximately 1,800 residents die each year from falls at nursing homes
Beyond this, it is estimated that 1,800 patients die every year as a result of a fall at a nursing home.
Why Do Nursing Home Patients Suffer Fall Injuries?
Nursing homes are extremely susceptible to falls due to medical conditions that required them to move into the facility in the first place. So residents are not only vulnerable, but when falls do occur, the subsequent injuries and decline in overall health are often severe.
The most common causes of nursing home falls include the following:
- Muscle weakness or problems with walking
- Environmental hazards such as poor lighting or slippery floors
- Medications such as sedatives
- Changes in medication type or dosage
- Moving without assistance
- Improper care of the patient’s feet
- Shoes that do not fit properly
- Missing or improper use of walking aids
Nursing Home Fall Prevention
Proper fall prevention measurements ensure that residents are at minimal risk of injury. Fall prevention requires caregiver and facility intervention, including:
- Exercise and physical therapy to improve balance, strength, and gait.
- Providing residents with hip pads to prevent hip fractures in the event of a fall.
- Safety aids to help residents navigate the facility, including raised toilet seats, grab bards, lowered beds, and hallway handrails.
- Asking patients about their last eye checkup and ensuring glasses precrpitions are up to date.
- Carefully reviewing patient’s medications and health states to identify risks of dizziness, confusion, and balance issues.
When Neglect Leads to Nursing Home Falls
While not all injuries can be prevented, precautionary steps must always be taken to prevent falls at nursing homes. Upon admittance, all resident must be assessed for risk of falling. If a fall ever does occur, staff must identify and establish interventions to prevent future falls. If such precautions are not taken and your loved one suffers serious injuries, we can help you fight for full and fair compensation.