Nursing homes have a duty and obligation to meet the expectations of those families and ensure they anticipate and account for fall risks in elderly residents and ensure that residents never suffer injuries related to falling. If an elderly resident in a nursing home falls, the nursing home may be liable for any injuries. If your senior family member fell in a nursing home, contact a Forest Park falls lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to receive justice for their injuries.
Evaluating the Fall Risk of Nursing Home Residents
Every time a new resident enters a nursing home, a complete evaluation should occur regarding a complete picture of their physical and emotional health. This assessment of the health needs of every resident must include all factors that could potentially contribute to the elderly resident falling. Some of the considerations that will account for heightened fall risk can include a general loss of balance or strength, overall frailty, mobility limitations, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, impaired vision, or medications that have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
Additionally, a nursing home care plan for an elderly resident should receive frequent updates as new medications or changes in physical or emotional conditions occur. Finally, all equipment or medical devices used by the elderly patient should receive categorization and documentation on their care plan to help the nursing home staff keep the resident reasonably safe from falls. These elderly fall prevention devices may include walkers, wheelchairs, mobility aids, grab bars, handrails, specific cushioned surfaces, and a complete assessment of heights of chairs, toilets, and beds for the resident.
When Nursing Homes Fail to Prevent Falls
While not every fall in a nursing home is preventable, most falls occur due to nursing home neglect or abuse. If a nursing home fails to take reasonable measures and steps to ensure that residents who are fall risks remain safeguarded and protected, the lack of oversight or care could lead to a nursing home neglect lawsuit. Examples of situations where a nursing home would be liable and responsible for a fall-related injury include:
- Failure to develop an adequate care plan for an elderly resident, or the failure to update an existing care plan when new physical or emotional needs develop.
- Failure to provide the care and monitoring needed for a resident according to an established care plan.
- Failure to use proper transferring techniques to move a resident from a bed to a wheelchair, or from a bed to the bathroom, etc.
- Failure to train and educate nursing home employees on how to appropriately monitor and care for those residents that are at risk for falling.
- Failure to hire qualified employees that will provide adequate care for nursing home residents according to their specific care plans.
- Failure to adequately staff the nursing home so that all residents receive proper care and attention.
- Failure to provide proper medication in proper dosages leading to side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion which may lead to falls.
- Failure to follow established nursing home facility protocols when accidents occur, such as sounding an alarm or contacting an attending physician after a fall happens.
- Failure to keep walkways or resident’s personal areas clear of debris and hazards which may increase fall risk.
- Failure to identify wet floors, keep areas lit appropriately, or keep floors safe from tripping hazards such as loose tiles or rugs.
For a free legal consultation with a Falls Lawyer serving Forest Park, call (800) 794-0444
Consequences of Falls in the Elderly
Falls in the elderly can result in lasting and lingering long-term medical conditions such as physical disabilities, loss of function, and a complete reduction in the quality of life for a senior. For those residents that already suffered a fall in a nursing home, the fear of falling again can lead to depression, anxiety, fear, feelings of helplessness, further loss of function, and social isolation. Some nursing home employees feel afraid to report a fall for fear of repercussions or the possibility of losing their job, so these falls remain unreported. In these cases, an elderly resident may develop even more serious medical conditions as their fall remains untreated.
In some severe cases, when a nursing home resident falls, they may pass away from their injuries. If your loved one passed away due to falling in a nursing home, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. If your elderly family member suffered a nursing home fall that resulted in death, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to receive justice on their behalf.
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If your loved one suffered injuries or passed away from a fall in a nursing home, you may have the right to receive compensation on their behalf. While monetary recovery will never make your loved one completely whole again, those responsible for elder neglect should remain liable and responsible for the medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, additional medical treatments, and loss of mobility following their fall.
If your loved one fell and passed away due to their fall injuries, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. There are strict deadlines associated with personal injury and wrongful death cases in the state of Illinois. You should contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm as soon as possible to receive justice on your elderly loved one’s behalf.