Falls occur commonly in nursing homes due to the residents’ health issues, frailty, chronic conditions, and difficulty walking. Those in nursing homes often need help moving around and struggle with daily activities. Falls can occur stepping out of a wheelchair, walking around a private room, transitioning from a bed to a wheelchair, and in many other situations.
Falling itself isn’t a sign of nursing home negligence—it’s an unavoidable part of elderly living. However, how the nursing home prevents and reacts to falls can point out major gaps in the accepted standards of care, and by extension, negligence.
When Are Falls Considered Nursing Home Negligence?
If a nursing home or similar facility has unsanitary conditions, slippery floors, incorrect bed height, poor lighting, malfunctioning wheelchairs, or dangerous objects and furniture, it may be liable for resident fall injuries. Failure to provide a safe environment for the well-being of residents makes the facility responsible for any injuries this negligence caused.
If a nursing home staff member acts negligently in his or her duties to reasonably prevent a fall, a judge may hold the facility responsible. For example, if a resident has a known muscle weakness and is at high risk of falling but the caregiver is too preoccupied to help him or her get out of bed, a fall might be the negligent caregiver’s fault.
Nursing homes are responsible for training and educating staff members on how to properly handle a fall situation. Impatience when handling fall victims or shrugging off resident complaints of personal injury are signs of negligence. If a resident suffered a fracture or broken bone and it’s left untreated, the damages to his or her physical and mental health could be substantial.
Many nursing home falls are preventable with the proper attention to resident needs and appropriate fall prevention programs. Fall prevention in nursing homes can be challenging but necessary to provide resident well-being. Nursing homes must take the time to understand a new resident’s needs and health hazards to apply the correct standard of care. The staff must also maintain a high level of up-to-date knowledge about fall prevention and do everything in their power to prevent a fall.
Types of Fall Injuries
Elderly fall injuries cause significant damage to frail bodies and people with preexisting conditions: about 20% of falls result in serious injury, and over 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls. Many residents fall more than once in a year, and many nursing homes don’t report falls to protect the facility’s integrity.
Fall injuries can range from broken bones to serious internal injury. If a resident has a mental condition that renders him or her unable to communicate, prone to hallucinations, or symptoms of dementia, the fall injury may go unnoticed for a significant period of time. If a nursing home is negligent in its physical checks after a resident falls, a missed injury could worsen, become infected, or even cause death. Neglecting to perform this duty is grounds for a lawsuit.
Falls not only cause physical injury; they cause fear of falling, feelings of isolation, reduced quality of life, increased loss of function, depression, and helplessness. Suffering a traumatic fall can have lasting repercussions on your loved one’s mental well-being, especially if the nursing home didn’t react to the fall properly.
Get Help With Your Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit
If your loved one sustained a fall that a nursing home didn’t properly prevent or treat, he or she may be eligible for compensation. Retribution for nursing home neglect lawsuits can encompass payments for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and future medical expenses relating to the fall.
Do You Believe Your Loved One May Be Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you feel your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.