Standing Your Ground with Nursing Home Falls and Injuries
For older adults, losing your balance is not just a minor inconvenience; it can be extremely dangerous, costly, disabling, and even deadly. In fact, every second of every day, an adult aged 65 or older suffers a fall in the United States, making preventable falls the leading cause of injury and death among Americans in this age group.
It goes without saying that the primary focus of any healthcare facility or nursing home should be to avoid these kinds of falls, and anything short of that is a form of elder abuse and neglect that can have very serious consequences.
Facts About Preventable Falls Among Elders
According to the CDC, one in four older adults will fall each year in the United States, and 20-30 percent of those who fall will sustain a serious injury such as broken bones or head trauma. For most older adults, falling once will only increase their chances of falling again, so it’s a slippery slope for a physically frail community and the statistics illustrate its alarming consequences:
- 3 million senior citizens are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries each year
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling300,000 patients are hospitalized each year for hip fractures
- Preventable falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries
30 million older adults fall each year, resulting in about 30,000 deaths
Also, the CDC reports that fall death rates have increased by 30% for older adults in the U.S. from 2007 to 2016. For an issue that is preventable, this growing statistic only indicates that a large part of the problem likely stems from neglect.
Fall Injuries in Nursing Homes
It’s the job of any care facility to help cut down an elder’s risk of falling – an accident which is easily preventable with a trained staff providing proper care and monitoring. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to follow even the most basic protocols to provide a safe and risk-free environment for their residents.
Research has identified many conditions that can lead to a fall. Elders, being more physically vulnerable than the average person, are affected by a wider array of risk-factors, some of which may be more obvious than others. Common risk-factors can include.
- Effects of aging on balance and strength
- Deconditioning from inactivity
- Vitamin deficiency or malnutrition leading to lower body weakness
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Use of medicines such as tranquilizers or sedatives that affect balance
- Vision problems
- Poor lighting
- Uneven floors, broken steps, or wet areas
- Unstable furniture, cluttered living space, objects that can be tripped over
Moreover, even if the fall is objectively an accident, many care facilities fail to take the necessary steps to adequately care for the injury. After the fall, the individual needs to be closely assessed and monitored by the qualified personnel. Oftentimes a care facility will haplessly assign nursing assistants to an injury that needs to be looked at by a registered nurse or a medical doctor.
If a patient breaks a bone or suffers an injury that results in them being bedridden or confined to a wheelchair, the pressure and lack of movement that is incurred during this period can lead to other risk factors such as bed sores or loss of muscle strength, which will only lead to more falls.
It’s imperative that you stay vigilant and ask questions if you or a loved one has experienced a fall. The dangers associated with this type of accident can accumulate very quickly, which is why you need to make sure that the nursing home staff is on top of things every step of the way, and if they aren’t – that care facility can be held legally liable.
Helping the Elderly With Fall Injury Cases
If you or a loved one has been on the receiving end of unfair treatment related to a fall or an injury, we’re here for you. At Berberian Ain, we work tirelessly to protect the rights of senior citizens, because we understand how serious these things can be. For years, we’ve adhered to California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act in our litigation and in our values.
Call us today for a free consultation. Our lawyers will examine your case and help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.