According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.4 million people reside in nursing homes. By 2030, the CDC estimates this number will rise to 3 million. It is incredibly important that nursing home residents feel safe. Their families and loved ones should be able to rest assured that residents are protected, healthy, and cared for. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed. This means that individualized care and attention decrease with each added bed. In time, this may lead to neglect, causing problems including preventable falls. These falls are an unignorably large problem throughout the country.
Injuries Caused by Falls in Nursing Homes
The CDC states that a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports between 100 and 200 falls each year. Falls can cause permanent disability and a greatly reduced quality of life. Consequently, 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries, and 2% to 6% cause fractures. Even worse, 1,800 adults in nursing homes die yearly due to fall-related injuries.
Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year, which is twice as often as elderly people residing outside of nursing homes. While nursing home residents comprise only 5% of the 65 and older age group, they account for 20% of deaths from falls in this bracket. This is partly because people residing in nursing homes tend to be easily injured. Yet this statistic may also be partly attributable to neglect.
While some falls are unpreventable, a facility can take several precautions to avoid them. When a new resident is admitted to a nursing home, a staff member must take the time to assess the patient’s fall risk to take as many safeguards as possible. Some medications, including sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, may make a resident more prone to falls, so staff should take special care to ensure the safety of patients on these medications. Additionally, a nursing home must be kept in good condition to protect the residents; hazardous conditions such as wet floors, poor lighting, and incorrect bed height, cause 16% to 27% of falls.
Installing grab bars, raised toilet seats, and hallway handrails make movement safer and easier for residents. In the case of a patient prone to falls, the home may provide them with hip pads that would, if needed, aid in preventing hip fractures. Additionally, mobility devices must be well maintained to ensure the safety of residents.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of neglect and has sustained an injury after a fall, the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can help you to determine your next course of action. Attorneys are available for a free consultation at (212) 779-0057.