Nursing homes house about 1.4 million people aged 65 and above in the United States. By 2030, this number will have risen to 3 million individuals. Falls can cause a patient’s ability to decline, resulting in disabilities and a worse quality of life. Fall injury in nursing homes can cause depression, social isolation, feelings of helplessness, and severe functional impairments.
Why do nursing homes have a higher rate of fall injury?
Falling is a common symptom of a variety of health conditions. Elderly people who live in nursing facilities are often frailer than those who live in the community. When compared to community-based elders, nursing home residents are older, have greater difficulty walking, and have more chronic problems.
In addition, nursing home patients have a higher rate of memory and cognitive problems, difficulties doing everyday tasks, and require assistance with personal care and mobility. These are the most important factors to consider when it comes to nursing home fall rates.
Falls in elderly care homes: common causes
The statistics of fall injuries in nursing home units are scary. Here are some common reasons. The most prevalent causes of falls among older nursing home patients are muscle weakening and mobility issues. They account for nearly a quarter of all falls in nursing homes.
Environmental dangers, such as equipment in the hallways, are responsible for 16 % to 27 % of nursing home falls. Poor lighting, damp surfaces, poorly fitting or badly maintained wheelchairs, and beds that are positioned too high are all hazards that cause falls.
Medications that affect the central nervous system, such as anti-anxiety medications and sedatives, might increase the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Within three days after taking any of these drugs, the risk of falling is greatly increased.
Other sorts of falls are caused by difficulty walking from one place to another, such as moving from a chair to a bed, wearing ill-fitting shoes, not taking care of one’s feet, and using mobility aids such as walkers and canes incorrectly. Besides the reasons listed above there can also be cases when the falls are caused as a result of carelessness, lack of attention, and sometimes even intentionally by the care providers. These are terrifying situations and to handle them reasonably you should better contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who’ll investigate the case thoroughly. The professional home abuse attorneys will not only get the maximum amount of compensation but they’ll also help your loved one to recover both emotionally and physically and most importantly, they’ll prevent future intentional injuries.
Falls prevention in nursing homes
Nursing facilities must keep their elderly inhabitants safe. Preventing falls in nursing homes, on the other hand, might be difficult. Most nursing facilities have processes in place to prevent seniors from falling and to rapidly assist those who do.
Protocols to prevent falls in nursing homes
Nursing home protocols are a set of rules, processes, or standards that staff must adhere to to keep residents safe. These principles may differ from nursing home to nursing home, but the most effective institutions take a multi-faceted strategy to prevent falls.
The following are some examples of fall prevention protocols:
- Keeping a close eye on the elderly and accompanying those who are in danger.
- Providing walkers or wheelchairs to residents.
- Examining the resident’s medications, some may make them more prone to dizziness and falling.
- Hip cushions are given to residents to avoid hip fractures if they fall.
- After a fall, assess patients to determine the reason and, if feasible, treat them.
- Staff personnel at nursing homes can identify individuals who have difficulty going around and provide extra assistance to them.
- Staff should also keep note of how a resident’s mobility patterns change over time. If the resident’s walking becomes difficult, the staff should give them a walker or wheelchair.
- Staff should pay special attention to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia who use walkers or wheelchairs.
Besides keeping a watchful eye on the residents, the staff may help elders avoid falls by educating them about the dangers of falling and how to avoid them. Raised toilet seats, handrails, and lowered beds may be fitted to make it simpler for people to walk around.
What to do if you fear your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall
First and foremost, get medical assistance as soon as possible. Your loved one may have injuries that aren’t visible but might cause internal bleeding. When a resident of nursing home falls, they require quick medical attention.
Second, speak with the nursing home employees to learn more about how the accident occurred so that it does not happen to your loved one or anybody else in the future.
Third, make a report of the fall injury to the nursing home. The licensing and regulatory bodies need to know which nursing homes are having problems with falls. When a long-term care facility has a high number of these instances, government agencies can look into it to protect residents from damage in the future.
Hire a fall injury lawyer without any delay
The best thing to do is consult with a nursing home abuse attorney about the prospect of filing a claim for compensation for your loved one’s medical costs, decreased mobility, and pain and suffering due to a nursing home fall.