Elders and Falls: Common Causes

Falls in nursing homes are all too common, and consequently all too fatal. In fact according to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, “Falls among nursing home residents occur frequently and repeatedly. About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries and those who survive falls frequently sustain hip fractures and head injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.”

In order to prevent falls, it’s beneficial for elders in long term nursing care facilities to understand the causes. Here is a list of the four most common causes of falls.

• Nearly ¼ of all falls in nursing homes are caused by muscle weakness, or walking difficulties. If you or someone you love is having difficulty walking, use an assistive device, and make sure to request proper assistance from the skilled nursing staff of your long term care facility.
• Environmental hazards within nursing homes can also lead residents to fall. As many as 27% of all falls in nursing homes may be caused by wet floors, inadequate lighting, improper height of resident’s bed, or poorly maintained or improper size of wheel chairs.
• Medications can significantly increase the likelihood of a fall. In particular, medications which affect the central nervous system (thus affecting reaction time, coordination and so on) may cause seniors in nursing homes to fall. The incidence of falls caused by medication is typically higher when a resident switches medication.
• Other common causes for nursing home falls include improper foot care (including shoes which don’t fit properly) and incorrect use of walking devices.

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 California 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 California nursing home that exhibits signs of having sustained an injury from falling, contact Christopher C. Walton at (866) 338-7079 for a confidential, no obligation consultation. 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.