In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported nearly 2.8 million fall injuries among Americans ages 65 and older. The CDC lists accidental falls as the number one injury among older Americans, many of which are preventable with proper safety protocol.
If your loved one suffered a preventable fall in the care of a nursing home or caretaker, contact Cordisco & Saile at 215-486-8196 to learn about your options.
The Causes of Falls in a Vulnerable Population
The risk factors for accidental falls are synonymous with the natural aging process:
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Vision problems
- Medications that cause sedation or dizziness
- Foot pain
- Lower body weakness
Standard Practices for Elder Fall Prevention
The CDC reports approximately 250,000 elderly patients are hospitalized each year due to hip fractures, with falls causing 95 percent of these injuries, but many of these falls are preventable with the proper precautions and care.
Nursing homes account for approximately 20 percent of all fall-related deaths among residents 65 and older. While nursing homes should have a protocol in place for preventing and reporting falls, many falls go unreported, especially if staff negligence causes the fall.
Common practices for preventing falls in nursing homes include:
- Personal items within reach
- Easily maneuverable living areas
- Gait belts
- Bed alarms
- Quick reaction and monitoring during toileting requests
- Good footwear
- Grab bars and railings
- Use of walking aids or wheelchairs
Nursing homes should also assess each resident for their fall risk using a standard risk assessment and make adjustments as needed. For example, if a resident has a history of falling when rushing to the bathroom, he should be encouraged to use the bathroom while assisted on a regular schedule to avoid rushing.
Identifying and Addressing Neglect in Preventing Falls
Every time you visit your loved one at their nursing home, take note of any new injuries, especially bruises and broken bones. Check with a nursing home administrator to ensure that their injury and its cause has been documented. If the nursing home cannot provide any documentation, you should talk to an elder abuse attorney.
When a nursing home fails to follow fall risk assessment and prevention protocols, they may cover up fall incidents by failing to report them in the patient’s records. It is your job to monitor your loved one’s health and speak up if you believe something is wrong.
Cordisco & Saile, LLC is here to help you fight for your loved one’s rights to a safe and secure life in their nursing home. For more information on filing a nursing home negligence claim after a loved one’s injury, contact us at 215-486-8196 for a free case evaluation.