Falls are the number one cause of injuries in nursing homes. They are extremely serious and can cause severe injuries, including broken bones, subdural hematomas, and even death. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that:
- Each year, the average nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported.
- Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year. That’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community.
- Patients often fall more than once. The average is 2.6 falls per person per year.
- About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot safely walk.
How serious are the falls?
- About 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls.
- About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.
- Falls result in disability, functional decline, and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
Why do falls occur?
Although nursing homes inevitably argue that falls cannot be prevented, nursing homes frequently fail to take the necessary precautions to keep residents safe—and even argue that falls cannot be prevented. However, there are many preventative measures that nursing homes can take:
- Bed alarms
- Chair alarms
- Toileting plans
- Frequent supervision
- Bed rails
- Hip pads
- Low beds
- Educating staff about fall risk prevention
- Ensuring residents wear proper shoes
Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to take these fall-prevention measures because they take additional time. Staffing cost is usually one of the highest expenses in a nursing home’s budget. Frequently, nursing home owners reap hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars per year in profits per nursing home–money that could be used to prevent resident falls.
If you or a loved one has experienced a fall in a nursing home, call Lloyd & Lloyd. We have decades of experience in representing residents and their families in cases where nursing homes allow residents to fall.
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No family wants to face having to put a loved one into a nursing home. However, if it is necessary to take this step, the family deserves to know that the promises of the nursing home to take care of their parent(s) are true.