More than 1,800 people die each year in nursing home falls. All health care professionals in the nursing home setting must work together to help encourage nursing home safety.
Nursing homes are required to conduct a fall-risk assessment for every resident to determine who may be at risk for falls. The fall-risk assessment is particularly to preventing falls because it sets forth what accommodations should be in place for each resident.
Staff should always be on the lookout for residents who may require assistance getting about. If residents have a history of falls, the facility should consider using alarms on chairs or beds to notify the staff when the person attempts to walk on their own.
Causes of Nursing Home Falls
Some of the more common causes of nursing home falls and situations where patients are dropped include:
- Hazards in the nursing home – wet floors, poor lighting, improper be heights, improperly maintained wheelchairs, equipment left out of place
- Medications – Drugs that effect the central nervous system, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs (psychoactive drugs)
- Improperly fitting shoes or incorrect walking aids
- Frequent use of restraints
- Facilities failing to provide assistance or provide specialized bathing equipment including chairs, stands and grips
- Transfer into and out of bed
- Failing to engage locks on wheelchairs
- Poorly maintained stairways and walkways
Nursing Homes Duty To Protect Patients From Falls
Although facilities like to claim that these incidents are isolated events, a dropped patient or patient with a repeated history of falls, is usually indicative of underlying problems in the nursing home including:
- Poorly trained staff: Some facilities do not properly train staff in how to use equipment
- Under-staffing: Facilities sometimes to not have enough man power to assist patients or to safely perform transfers as they were intended
- Utilizing the wrong equipment to move or transfer patients: facilities must have the proper equipment for the job
- Faulty equipment: facilities must keep equipment in proper repair. This includes getting replacement parts from the manufacturer and having them installed by a trained technician.
Nursing Home Liability For Injuries Resulting From Patient Falls
When evaluating nursing home fall cases, it is important to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the specific incident as was as the patient’s fall-related history at the facility. While not all fall-related injuries may be compensable– in many situations, there is a pattern of falls and a clear failure on the part of the staff to implement fall-precautions.
For this reason, it is important to review the patient’s complete chart from a facility to evaluate liability in nursing home fall cases. When liability is established, the facility may be responsible for the associated pain, decline in the quality of life and medical expenses related to treatment.
An experienced nursing home negligence attorney can evaluate a patient’s chart and determine if the appropriate safeguards were implemented at the time of the fall. In circumstances where protocols weren’t followed and patients were injured, a nursing home negligence lawsuit may be necessary to recover compensation for the patient’s medical bills and resulting disability. Our attorneys have successfully pursued hundreds of nursing home negligence cases involving patient falls. Allow us to do the same for you. 888-424-5757