Facts About Falls in Nursing Homes
Caring for aging loved ones is a challenge. Ensuring they get the care and attention they need is a top priority.
In many cases, a nursing home is the best way to provide older family members with the level of medical care and ongoing support required to handle the various changes that come with aging.
At the same time, it is important to make sure the nursing home is attentive to patient needs and vigilant in ensuring your loved one's safety.
In particular, falls in nursing homes are common. They often result in extensive and potentially life-threatening injuries. In many cases, these nursing home falls are no accident. They are instead the result of nursing home neglect and abuse.
WEST VIRGINIA NURSING HOME POPULATION IS GROWING
More than 1.4 million people in the United States ages 65 and older live in nursing homes today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between half and three quarters of these residents suffer a fall accident at some point over the course of a year. Many residents fall multiple times.
The CDC reports that the average nursing home resident falls an average of 2.6 times a year. These are shocking statistics, indicating a lack of safety in nursing homes as well as a lack of supervision of elderly residents by nursing home staff.
WHY DO NURSING HOME FALLS OCCUR?
Common causes of nursing home slip and fall accidents include:
- Environmental hazards such as wet floors or obstacles in walkways
- Improper equipment such as a lack of handrails, incorrect bed heights and poorly fitted or maintained wheelchairs
- Negligent handling of residents and inadequate assistance from staff
- Difficulties in moving from place to place due to a lack of personal care items such as prescription eye glasses, proper footwear and properly fitting shoes
- General muscle weakness and walking problems due to lack of exercise and improper diet
- Lack of supervision for residents with medical conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
In addition to the above, medication among nursing home residents is also a contributing factor in many nursing home slip-and-fall accidents.
A recent Washington Times article on overmedication among nursing home residents points out that blood thinners such as Coumadin as well as antipsychotic and anxiety drugs are frequently overprescribed to nursing home residents. The result is an increase in the risk of dangerous and potentially life-threatening falls.
INJURIES CAUSED BY FALLS IN NURSING HOMES
Injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents in nursing homes often result in a permanent loss of mobility. They can also lead to a general decline in overall health that proves to be fatal.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), falls among people ages 65 and older are the leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma as well as for injury-related deaths.
Common types of injuries caused by falls in nursing homes include:
- Hip and pelvic fractures
- Spinal fractures and bruising
- Broken bones in arms, hands, and ankles
- Torn or pulled muscles and tendons
- Head and traumatic brain injuries.
Many slip-and-fall injuries result in a permanent lack of mobility in nursing home residents and the inability to participate in the activities and interests they once enjoyed. In the aftermath of a fall, victims often suffer from depression, increased anxiety and a general overall decline in health from which some never recover.
Unfortunately, even a minor fall can have a physical, psychological and emotional impact severe enough to eventually result in the death of your loved one.
WHEN YOU SUSPECT NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Nursing home administrators and staff members can and should be held accountable for actions that put nursing home residents at risk.
In order to ensure your loved one or family member gets the care he or she deserves, it is important to establish open communication with the nursing home staff and to be aware of your options in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If the above steps to not address your concerns about your loved one's safety, and you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse hotline.
In addition to the above steps, it is also important to consult with an experienced West Virginia nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.
A lawyer can act as a liaison between you and the nursing home administration and a state agency that conducts an investigation into the matter.
Your lawyer can also investigate your case independently and prepare a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. Nursing homes that are negligent in providing care can and should be held liable for any damages that result.
CONTACT A CHARLESTON, WV NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT LAWYER TODAY
When you trust a nursing home to provide for the health and well-being of your elderly family member, it can be a shock to discover that your trust has been betrayed.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our Charleston nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys know how important it is to know that aging family members and loved ones are receiving proper care.
If your loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a nursing home, or if you suspect they are a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, contact us today to receive the legal attention your case deserves.
We can provide a free a consultation and conduct a thorough review of your case.