A nursing home prevents falls by providing staff training, well-placed equipment, and proactive monitoring. It is the home’s staff’s duty to recognize and prevent falls before they occur as a promise of care toward your family member.
If you suspect that your loved one’s fall in a nursing home was caused by nursing home negligence, speak with an attorney to help you understand your legal options for receiving protection and compensation for your loved one after they suffered an injury.
Recognize Warning Signs of Fall Risk at Nursing Homes
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) established a set of guidelines that help nursing homes prevent falls. They outline a recommended falls management program that addresses the following conditions that increase the likelihood of elderly falls occurring in nursing homes:
- Cognitive and mobility issues
- Dim or poorly lit areas and walkways
- Clutter and debris in living spaces
- Defective wheelchairs and walkers
- Basic needs items placed out of reach
- Uneven or wet floors
- Inadequate monitoring and observance by staff
While not all falls are preventable, there is a general duty of care that a nursing home must provide to keep your loved one safe and out of harm’s way. Failure to take practical measures can result in a fall that causes significant injuries or death.
Protecting Residents by Preventing Falls
Fall prevention at nursing homes requires the staff to make regular checks on residents while maintaining safety protocols that reduce their risk of exposure. By understanding how they occur, nursing homes can take the following precautions to prevent falls and fractures for your loved one:
- Providing proper footwear: Nursing homes should inspect footwear to ensure that it fits securely on the foot using laces or Velcro straps. Residents should never be permitted to walk around in socks or bare feet.
- Securing bedding with rails: Bedrails prevent your loved one from falling out of bed when climbing in, climbing out, or sleeping. Check to ensure that the rails are located at an appropriate height and affixed to the bed securely.
- Monitoring residents carefully: It is critical that the nursing home staff regularly monitors residents and performs check-ins as they go about their day. Failing to do so can result in falls going unnoticed for a dangerous amount of time.
- Encouraging exercise: Exercise keeps your loved one active and healthy. It is a strategy that helps him or her stand, walk, and reach with greater muscle and bone density. Therefore, your loved one stands a better chance of not falling when he or she is physically healthy enough to care for him or herself.
- Placing basic needs items within reach: Staff members must place food, water, hygiene items, and communication devices within a safe reaching distance of your family member. Nursing homes can offer him or her easily accessible shelving and furniture fixtures that do not require stress or strain when trying to use them.
- Offering alert buttons in bathrooms and near the bed: Emergency alert buttons can save a resident’s life. Placing them near beds and in bathrooms is an important practice since dangerous falls occur in these locations more often.
- Assisting residents with mobility issues: Residents with mobility issues require special attention and care when it comes to getting around the facility. Staff can provide mobility equipment and assist your loved one with daily activities.
- Keep walkways free of debris: Groundskeeping and maintenance are essential to everyone’s safety. Nursing homes should make snow removal, raking, and yard maintenance a regular part of their protocols.
- Training staff to recognize signs: Training is critical to the success of preventing nursing home falls. A comprehensive program includes teaching staff how to recognize the early warning signs of falls as well as how to respond to them.
Ultimately, the monitoring, training, and equipment protocols that a nursing home uses controls its ability to provide a hazard-free environment for your loved one. Self-education is an excellent first step toward recognizing signs of nursing home fall hazards.
Contact a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer if Your Loved One’s Fall Caused Injuries
The safety of your loved one is vital to his or her health, as well as your peace of mind. If you believe the nursing home staff negligently caused his or her injuries, contact the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for more information.
You need to act as soon as possible to ensure your family member’s safety. If you are unable to travel, we will come to you no matter where your location is. Feel free to call us for a no-cost case evaluation 24/7, 365 days a year at (800) 842-6336. We do not shy away from tough cases, and we work on a contingency-fee-basis, so you do not pay unless we win.