In a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was revealed that the typical nursing home with 100 beds has between 100 and 200 falls per year, with roughly 1,800 deaths per year that can be attributed to falls. As such, falls involving nursing home residents is one of the most serious problems facing the industry.
Adding to the danger of falling is the fragile nature of the patients who live there making them more susceptible to being injured. When people age, their head, bones and joints are no longer able to withstand trauma from a fall that would not affect a younger person. For example, older people are more prone to suffer from subdural hematomas after striking their head in a fall, which can lead to serious injury or death. Osteoporosis is another medical problem associated with the elderly that makes them more susceptible to hip fractures from falling, with some ninety percent being related to falling to the side. Following a hip fracture, there is a long period of functional impairment, possible complications and a twenty percent chance of death within a year from the date of the injury. Studies show that seventy five percent of the hip fractures are sustained by women but the probability of hip fractures in men and women increases exponentially after turning 85 years of age.
Since falls in nursing homes are such a danger to the elderly who live there, nursing homes should constantly assess the patients who exhibit difficulty with walking or equilibrium. There are many things that can be done to prevent falls from happening, such as:
• Providing adequate supervisory staff for staff and residents
• Providing training to staff on fall risk factors and prevention strategies
• Providing alarms to alert when a patient attempts to get out of bed
• Keeping all areas well lit, clean and free of obstacles, and floors dry
• Providing wheelchairs, walkers, tripods and restraints
• Not overmedicating patients
• Providing easy access to call buttons for patients
• Providing training to staff for proper lifting techniques
Even under the best of circumstances, with all of the proper techniques and preventative devices in place, falls are bound to occur resulting in serious injuries or even death to the elderly patients who reside in nursing homes. Often they forget that they have fallen or they don’t remember why their head or side hurts. Family members and visitors need to be constantly vigilant in noticing signs of falls or signs of danger in the facility.
If you, a family member or a friend have a loved one in a nursing home that exhibits signs of having sustained an injury from falling, you need to contact Christopher C. Walton at (866) 338-7079 for a confidential, no obligation consultation. He is an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney who has helped many elder neglect and abuse victims in San Diego and throughout California. Cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe an attorney fee unless there is a monetary recovery made for you.
Related Blog Posts:
Three Los Angeles County Nursing Homes Fined over Preventable Resident Deaths, California Elder Abuse Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2012
California Guidelines for Recognizing and Reporting Elder Abuse, California Elder Abuse Lawyer Blog, December 20, 2011