When nursing home residents fall, they may suffer from injuries that threaten their life or their ability to function normally.
Nursing home falls are a prevalent issue in Alabama nursing homes and nursing homes throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the standard nursing home with 100 beds reports between 100 to 200 falls on a yearly basis. However, many of these falls that result from existing safety hazards or other factors are never reported.
Consequences of falling
Falls that occur in assisted living facilities are associated with severe consequences for the elderly. The CDC states that on a yearly basis, approximately 1,800 elderly people pass away from the injuries they sustained after falling. However, those who survive often suffer from injuries that result in a reduced quality of life or a permanent disability.
For example, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 65,000 nursing home patients incur a hip fracture after falling every year and one out of every 10 nursing home residents who falls sustains a serious related injury. Additionally, nursing home patients who fall may become increasingly fearful of falling again and may become unable to participate in activities they used to enjoy.
Common causes of nursing home falls
The DHHS states that there are two categories of risk factors, which include extrinsic and intrinsic, that can result in this form of nursing home abuse. Intrinsic factors include things like chronic diseases, acute medical conditions, medication side effects and deconditioning from extended periods of inactivity. Another intrinsic risk factor is the effect aging can have on a person’s gait, strength and balance.
Comparatively, extrinsic fall risk factors include unsafe equipment, unsafe personal care items and environmental hazards. For example, an elderly person may fall and become injured if a nursing home is poorly lit or if uneven or wet floors exist in certain areas of the home’s facilities.
Although intrinsic fall risk factors, like chronic diseases, usually cannot be eliminated, extrinsic fall risk factors can be controlled to reduce nursing home falls. The CDC states that this can be accomplished when nursing homes implement certain fall intervention practices in their facilities. Plans for fall prevention in nursing homes may involve educating staff members about various fall risk factors and making changes so that residents can move around the location safely.
Although there are certain steps Alabama nursing homes can take to minimize falls within their facilities, many don’t make fall prevention a priority. If you or one of your loved ones was injured after falling in a nursing home, speak with an attorney to determine what legal steps should be taken next.
Keywords: nursing home, fall, injury, accident