Falls in Nursing Homes and Hospitals
As we age, our bodies are less able to heal bones, ligaments, and even skin. Falls, trips and scrapes can become serious concerns for the elderly, as their bodies are less able to recover quickly from injury. This is one of the many reasons that nursing homes have a responsibility to keep their facilities as safe as possible for their residents. The failure to do so represents a serious threat to the safety and well-being of the loved ones whom we entrust to the care of these homes. Slip or trip and fall incidents in nursing homes are often a direct result of an employee’s negligence.
If you or your loved one has been injured as a consequence of a nursing home employee’s failure to address a slip or trip hazard, it may be possible to secure financial compensation for related damages. Contact the Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys of Lowenthal & Abrams, at 888-979-7298 to learn more about your legal options in this situation.
Dangers Associated with a Fall
Nursing home residents should have a reasonable expectation that they will not be needlessly endangered by the failure of their caregivers to attend to their duties. The prevention of falls is especially important because these accidents are likely to result in serious, potentially life-threatening injuries. The following are likely:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe lacerations and contusions
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken hips
The danger can quickly escalate if an elderly resident who falls does not receive prompt care as excessive blood loss is likely if he or she cannot move or call for help. In addition, a broken hip or other injury can be deadly for an older person who is already suffering from frail health.
It is the job of nursing homes and hospitals to prevent falls. There are a variety of steps they need to take to protect their patients.
1. Assess the patient for a fall risk.
The first thing the nursing home or hospital must do is determine whether a patient is a fall risk. The intake nurse will look at the patient, see how stable she is on her feet, find out what medications they are and see if they will increase the risk of falls, and determine if it is likely that the patient will try to get up on her own. These are just a few of the risks the intake person needs to analyze to see if the patient is a fall risk. This assessment needs to be done on a continuous basis.
2. Control the risk.
Once the patient is assessed, the hospital or nursing home must protect that patient. This might mean putting up bed rails, turning on a bed alarm or taking other necessary steps.
3. Monitor the patient
The patient needs to be monitored. A patient who is a fall risk but needs to use the bathroom, will probably try to get up. The patient needs to be assisted so she can take care of her needs. In addition, the nursing home must be alert if a patient does fall. Rapid response when a patient falls is crucial. Otherwise the patient could be laying on the floor for hours with a broken bone, brain injury or worse.
To discover how you can hold a negligent nursing home accountable for the harm sustained by your loved one in a preventable fall, contact a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer of Lowenthal & Abrams, by calling 888-979-7298 today.