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How to Prevent Nursing Home Falls

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Apr 30, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home resident fall riskA fall can be particularly devastating for a nursing home resident, resulting in serious bodily harm or even death. Unfortunately, falls are often caused by staff members' negligence. For example, maybe they did not remove tripping obstacles in a hallway or assist a resident with transferring from a bed to a wheelchair.

If your loved one suffered a fall in a nursing home that you believe was caused by negligence, contact our Silver Spring nursing home abuse attorneys for assistance. We offer a free consultation and do not charge for representing you unless you receive compensation.

Statistics on Falls at Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show falls happen quite often at nursing homes:

  • Approximately 20 percent of the deaths from falls among the elderly occur in nursing homes
  • Residents average 2.6 falls per year
  • Approximately 35 percent of fall injuries occur in residents who are unable to walk
  • There are 100 to 200 falls each year at a typical nursing home with 100 beds
  • Around 1,800 people die from nursing home falls each year
  • Between 10 and 20 percent of nursing home falls cause serious injuries – two to six percent result in fractures

Why Falls are Common in Nursing Homes

There are various reasons why elderly people, including nursing home residents, are at higher risk of falling and injuring themselves. Some of the risk factors for nursing home falls include:

  • Issues with walking or gait
  • Muscle weakness
  • Taking medications such as sedatives or anti-anxiety medicines
  • Undergoing medication changes
  • Poor-fitting shoes
  • Poor foot care
  • Improper use or poor maintenance of assistive devices, like wheelchairs, canes, crutches or walkers

There are also environmental risk factors for nursing home residents, such as:

  • Poor lighting
  • Wrong bed height
  • Poor wheelchair maintenance
  • Wet floors
  • Improperly sized wheelchairs

Preventing Nursing Home Falls

A nursing home fall can have devastating consequences for seniors, causing functional decline, disability and diminished quality of life. This is why nursing homes need to take steps to reduce the risk of falls and respond appropriately when they occur. These steps may include:

  • Encouraging residents to exercise because it can improve walking ability, stability, strength and balance
  • Using hip pads to prevent fractures if a resident suffers a fall
  • Reviewing patients' medications to identify ones that can cause drowsiness, weakness or other side effects that increase the risk of falling and changing medications or lowering dosage if possible
  • Modifying residents' rooms to reduce fall risk, including installing handrails, grab bars and raised toilet seats
  • Assessing patients after a fall to identify and treat health conditions that contributed to the fall
  • Encouraging the use of eyeglasses among residents to improve vision
  • Teaching safe transfer techniques for residents moving from one area to another
  • Encouraging volunteers and visitors to help monitor residents at risk for falling
  • Using gait belts when transferring patients
  • Making sure all assistive devices are fitted properly and used correctly
  • Continually assessing the facility for environmental hazards, like objects in hallways and walkways, wet floors or poor lighting
  • Ensuring residents have proper footwear that fits correctly and has a low heel
  • Preventing residents from wearing robes or clothing that falls below the ankles
  • Encouraging the use of handrails whenever they are available
  • Carefully monitoring and assessing new residents for a few weeks as they become familiar with their new environment
  • Constantly evaluating residents to assess who is at a higher risk of falls and incorporating risk management measures into the patient’s care plan

Contact an Attorney for Help

If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, the Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers of Goldberg Finnegan can help you hold negligent parties accountable for the harm your loved one has suffered.

Request a free, no obligation consultation and learn your options for pursuing compensation. We do not charge clients upfront and legal fees are only owed if we recover compensation in your case.

Call (888) 213-8140 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now.

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