Fall Prevention in Nursing Homes
Falls pose a high risk of serious injury and death. Elderly adults are at particular risk when it comes to falling. The CDC reports that falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in adults over 65. When a fall happens in a nursing home, the facility may be held liable when injury or death is the result.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a nursing home fall, Levin & Perconti can help. You may qualify for compensation to cover medical bills, additional injury-related costs, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. Contact Levin & Perconti to schedule a free consultation to discuss compensation after a nursing home fall.
How Likely Are Falls in Nursing Homes?
Falls in nursing homes are unfortunately quite common.
Approximately 1.6 million adults live in nursing homes in the U.S. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates half of these nursing home residents will fall each year. A third may fall two or three times a year.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls
There are many reasons why a nursing home resident might fall. Typically, causes are divided into environmental and intrinsic.
Environmental causes might include:
- Safety hazards
- Unstable equipment or furniture
- Disorganized personal items
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors
If assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and bed rails are not safely maintained and utilized, they can contribute to the likelihood of a fall.
Intrinsic fall factors are related to the individual’s health. These might include:
- Difficulty walking
- Illness or chronic disease
- Medication side effects
- Malnutrition or dehydration
Nursing home staff are expected to monitor the health of patients and provide appropriate assistance to avoid falls entirely.
How Serious Are Nursing Home Falls?
Nursing home falls are extremely serious and can be fatal. Declining health and hardiness means there’s a higher likelihood of a nursing home resident sustaining severe injuries after a fall.
A nursing home fall might result in:
The AHRQ also reports that a fall can lead to further negative effects on quality of life. When a nursing home resident falls, they might opt for restricted mobility or choose to limit activities out of a fear of falling again. This fear and accompanying change in activity and participation can have a negative effect on the individual’s overall health and happiness.
Tips for Preventing Falls in Nursing Homes
All nursing homes should have fall prevention strategies in place. When a new resident is admitted, staff should create a care plan specific to that individual to ensure their safety. Those in charge of resident or patient care at a nursing home or other long-term residential facility are responsible for updating these care plans regularly to prevent falls. They should consistently assess a resident’s history of falls, mental health, sensory deficits, and balance to ensure the continuing efficacy of the care plan.
Staff should also make sure your loved one has:
- Easy access to personal items
- Correctly fitting clothing and shoes
- Assistive devices in good condition
Family members can schedule regular care plan meetings to ensure that their loved one’s needs are being met. Visiting or calling your loved one often can help ensure the long-term care facility consistently adheres to these practices, that your family member is adequately cared for, and that any concerns are addressed quickly and appropriately.
Ultimately, the responsibility of preventing falls rests on the nursing home tasked with caring for your loved one, but you can keep the facility accountable by reporting injuries and signs of negligence, neglect, or abuse.
Are Physical Restraints Effective at Preventing Falls?
The use of physical restraints to reduce falls is still a common practice. However, studies show this practice is ineffective and can lead to other serious health issues.
Health complications linked to physical restraints include:
- Functional loss
- Pressure sores
The use of physical restraints might be a useful measure for nursing home administrators, especially when sufficient staffing is an issue. However, physical restraints have far more downsides than benefits, and there’s no evidence that they reduce the risk of a loved one suffering from a fall.
Resources for Family Members of Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious issue. Family members can help by taking precautions to ensure their loved one is treated with the care and dignity they deserve.
The Illinois Department of Health offers helpful guidance on how to choose a nursing home. Knowing and watching for the signs of elder abuse can help you monitor your loved one and recognize when something’s wrong.
If a fall or other injury occurs, know your rights. Suspected abuse or neglect should be reported, and you should begin working with an experienced nursing home attorney to build a case against the nursing home.
How Can Levin & Perconti Help if Your Loved One Was Injured in a Nursing Home Fall?
Levin & Perconti is one of the most highly respected nursing home abuse law firms in the country. Levin & Perconti’s legal team has handled thousands of nursing home lawsuits and procured over $500 million in settlements and verdicts for nursing home injury victims and their families.
for the estate of a 67-year-old man who died from complications related to a fall at Southpoint Nursing Home on Chicago’s south side.
against a nursing home for failure to manage a nursing home resident’s behavior which caused a shoving match, fall, hip fracture and death of a 79 year old fellow nursing home resident.
for an 83-year-old nursing home resident who fell several times while a resident at the nursing home, with the last fall contributing to her death.
Past client reviews and case results offer further testimony to the skill of the legal team at Levin & Perconti. A nursing home is responsible for the health and safety of your loved one. When this standard isn’t met, Levin & Perconti’s experienced nursing home lawyers know how to gain compensation for the pain and suffering that ensues.
If your loved one was injured in a nursing home fall due to abuse or neglect, the experienced nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti could help build a case to gain compensation.
Contact the nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) After a Nursing Home Fall
Here are some questions the attorneys at Levin & Perconti commonly hear from clients who are considering legal action after a nursing home fall.
In an emergency, you should contact 911. Suspected abuse or neglect can be reported to a 24/7 hotline managed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. You can begin by filing a report online or by calling 800-252-4343.
Both residents and their family members are eligible to sue. When an elderly loved one is not able to take legal action due to age or health, it’s common for family members to sue on their behalf. There are also situations where other relatives or friends are able to pursue litigation on a loved one’s behalf. The process can be complicated, but Levin & Perconti can help you understand your rights and determine the best option to pursue justice.
Typically, the nursing home itself along with owners and operation management companies can be held liable for injuries related to a fall, as well as any employees whose actions led to neglect or abuse.
When you work with Levin & Perconti, you don’t pay anything upfront. Our nursing home injury attorneys work with clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if we win your case. Your payment comes directly out of the settlement or verdict amount at a percentage rate established at the time of hiring us to handle your case.
The timeframe for receiving compensation will vary by case and will be influenced by several factors. The timing might depend on the length of the claim investigation and whether the lawsuit arrives at a settlement or goes to court. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as an injury occurs so that no time is wasted in getting maximum compensation for your harm.