Any fall can be dangerous, but for elderly nursing home patients, many of whom are struggling with balance issues and brittle bones, a fall can be deadly. Traumatic brain injuries and complications from injuries such as broken hips can be fatal to this vulnerable population.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the U.S., people ages 65 and older account for millions of falls each year. Over one in four elderly people suffer a fall every year.
Why is falling so common in nursing homes?
According to the CDC’s FastStats, as of 2014, 1.4 million people lived in nursing homes. Patients and loved ones alike rely on the nursing home staff to keep these residents healthy and safe. It is not uncommon, however, for a fall to be traced back to negligent care.
While deliberate abuse is a terrible – and unacceptable – thing, negligence in nursing homes can also have extremely dangerous consequences. Falls in nursing homes can be caused by many types of negligence, including:
- Failure to have adequate fall prevention protocols in place
- Understaffing and poor patient supervision
- Dropping a patient while helping them in or out of bed
- Falls that occur when getting in and out of wheelchairs
- Slick or wet flooring
- Poorly placed wires, cords or other objects
- Inadequate lighting
- Overmedication that makes patients groggy or dizzy
- Dehydration and malnutrition that makes patients weak
These are just a few of the reasons falls can occur. If an elderly loved one suffers a serious or fatal injury after a fall, you need to know whether it was due to negligent care. You may be able to hold the nursing home accountable for its negligence and recover compensation for your loved one’s or family’s losses. You may also help prevent similar issues from happening to someone else.