One aspect that many people forget to take into consideration when choosing the right nursing home for their relatives is fall prevention. Seniors often have health, mobility and balance issues that make them fragile and prone to falls. Most nursing homes and retirement centers have measures and staff in place to protect residents from accidents. However, there are a growing number of fall incidents occurring where residents sustain critical injuries and die and nursing home abuse, neglect and wrongful death claims are filed.
There are many reasons why nursing patients fall. Many nursing home fall incidents do not have to occur. Here is a brief overview of nursing home falls, life-threatening injuries and how they are preventable.
Fall trauma often leads to death
Assisted living centers and nursing homes are regulated by the federal government and must take precautionary measures to protect their residents. When they do not, the following types of critical fall injuries can occur:
- Blunt force trauma
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal hemorrhaging
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hematomas and clotting complications
- Changes in mental state
Not all fall accidents lead to serious and life-threatening injuries. However, a substantial number of them do. Seniors have a slower healing capacity. They are more susceptible to serious injuries and may develop critical complications that often result in death when neglect occurs, and hazardous conditions are present. The above types of fall injuries often lead to serious health issues that can further diminish the quality of life in victims who survive their injuries.
Ways nursing homes can protect residents
Nursing homes and their staff can prevent their residents from falling. A thorough risk assessment for each resident is necessary so the staff will know and can accommodate the ones who require more supervision and assistance to lower their risk of falling. Fall prevention structures, such as hand and bed-rails, banisters, slip-resistant mats and shower stools should be available and installed to promote resident safety and independence.
Sufficient lighting and clean, clear and safe floors are essential at all times. Also, facilities should have a proper staff-to-resident ratio to support the current and changing needs of seniors. Each nursing home should review federal and local regulations to ensure their facilities meet or exceed them to ensure patient safety. When nursing homes fail to prevent fall accidents that cause harm to residents, surviving victims and their family members may qualify for nursing home abuse, neglect and wrongful death compensation.