Falls are a common cause of injuries to nursing home patients.
According to government statistics, up to 50% of nursing home patients fall annually.
Among those hundreds of thousands of patients who fall, 33% of them fall more than once in a year.
Falls can seriously injure anyone, but nursing home patients who are aging or ill are especially prone to severe fall injuries. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that of those patients who fall, 10% suffer a hip fracture or some other serious injury.
Falls can cut short the life of a patient either directly or indirectly. Even if the patient escapes a spinal cord or head injury, they still may have to remain immobile for weeks or even months.
It can take time for a patient to get back to the quality of life they had before their fall, assuming they can do so at all. The loss of dependence and confidence can also take an emotional toll ono a patient which can in turn contribute to a medical decline.
Broken, inadequate equipment causes a high number of nursing home falls
The government attributed nursing home falls to several factors. Sometimes, a patient has lost the ability to balance themselves due to age. In other cases, the patient may have underlying psychological or medical problems.
In still other cases, a patient may fall because they are suffering from side effects of their medication.
Too often, falls happen because the nursing home facility failed to maintain their safety equipment or did not take care of their facility.
In other cases, the nursing home did not give the patient the tools they needed to stay safe, such as proper socks or shoes or items within easy reach.
These sorts of safety lapses can happen when, for example, a staff does not communicate well, is poorly trained or does not have adequate support and resources to give all the patients the care they deserve.
The point is that nursing home facilities can prevent falls and have a responsibility to do so. If they fail in this responsibility, victims may be entitled to compensation.