Nursing home owners like to believe they do everything they possibly can to prevent residents from suffering a fall that could lead to broken bones and a significant reduction in quality of life. Sometimes, fall injuries in nursing homes are preventable, as negligence from the staff or unsafe conditions in the facility contributes to the fall risk.
Because of the frequency of falls for nursing home residents and senior citizens in general, nursing homes must make fall prevention and fall risk reduction a priority in everything they do. If they do not, they could be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit from the victim of a fall that occurred at the facility.
Frequencies of Falls
Falls among older people represent a serious health risk for this age of the population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800,000 Americans per year suffer a fall injury that requires a hospital stay.
Once an older nursing home resident has a serious fall injury, he or she is twice as likely to suffer another fall soon after. Some of the injuries senior citizens can suffer after a fall include:
- Broken bones
- Head injury, including concussion and TBI
- Cuts and bruises
- Facial trauma
- Broken jaw or teeth
Hip Fractures From Falls
One of the most common and dangerous results from a fall injury for an older American is a hip fracture. The CDC says more than 300,000 older people suffer a broken hip each year in the United States, requiring hospitalization.
Of those hip fractures, more than 95 percent of them occur because the victim suffered some sort of fall. Women are especially susceptible to hip fractures after a fall, accounting for about 75 percent of all hip fractures.
Deaths from Falls for Senior Citizens
In the most serious cases, a person aged 65 or older who falls could die from his or her injuries. The CDC reports that in 2018, the age-adjusted fall death rate in the United States was 64 deaths per 100,000 adults aged 65 and older. This fatality rate increased by 30% between 2009 and 2018.
All of these statistics clearly show the importance of taking every precaution to prevent fall injuries among all senior citizens, including those residing in a nursing home.
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Taking Steps to Reduce Fall Risks
At the nursing home, it is important to help residents understand their fall risks and to then take steps to reduce those risks.
Evaluating Fall Risk
Staff members at the nursing home should have an idea about which residents are more likely to fall, taking extra steps to protect them.
A resident who is taking a certain type of medication could be more susceptible to a fall injury because some medications will make people dizzy or especially tired.
Residents who have certain conditions, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease, could have a higher fall risk, according to Stanford Medicine. Should the resident have osteoporosis, he or she would have a greater risk of suffering a broken bone in a fall, including a hip fracture.
Older Americans can strengthen the muscles in their bodies, which can help them maintain their balance and be stronger, reducing their fall risks. Multiple exercises and types of physical therapy aimed specifically at senior citizens can accomplish this, and nursing homes can incorporate these exercise routines into their regular day events for residents.
Sometimes, a nursing home resident may fall because his or her vision is failing. Regular vision checks can flag problems for senior citizens, allowing eye doctors to provide corrective lenses that can help them see better.
With better vision, the nursing home residents are more likely to see potential hazards for tripping, allowing them to avoid taking a bad step that could lead to a fall.
Nursing home staff should be constantly on the lookout for things like loose floor coverings, extension cords, and debris in common walkways, in hallways, and inside the residents’ rooms, taking care of these issues before they cause a resident to trip and fall.
We Take Pride in Protecting Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents
Whether it is because of illness, general weakness, or other conditions, residents of nursing homes sometimes need extra protection and care. Many times, this care comes from the staff at the nursing home, most of whom do their job well and to the best of their ability.
Sometimes, though, the nursing home resident does not receive the proper protection or help, which explains the high number of fall injuries in nursing homes. Older people sometimes need someone to stand up for their rights, as mental impairment may leave them unable to defend themselves.
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC takes its responsibility to defend nursing home residents seriously. We are ready to study the facts in the case and help you receive the fairest possible settlement for medical bills, pain, and suffering.
Call us at 800-959-1444 today for a free consultation.