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Top Causes of Nursing Home Fall Accidents and How They Can Be Prevented

Posted on in Nursing Home Falls

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse LawyerMany people are shocked to learn just how dangerous fall accidents can be for sick and elderly individuals. Something as simple as slipping in a pool of liquid can lead to catastrophic and even deadly fall injuries. The CDC reports that one out of every five falls causes serious injuries like hip fractures and head injuries. Falling is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Sadly, over 42,000 people died in fall accidents in 2020 alone.

Nursing home staff should be well aware of the deadly risk falling poses to residents and how to prevent fall accidents. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes take the precautions needed to prevent avoidable falls.

Reasons Nursing Home Patients Fall

Nursing home residents typically need extensive medical care and extra help with everyday tasks. However, many nursing homes are understaffed. This can mean that residents do not get the help they need. Nursing home neglect can lead to fall accidents in many different ways, including:

  • Environmental hazards – Nursing homes should be designed with elderly, frail residents in mind. Environmental hazards like low lighting, clutter in the hallway, or wet floors increase the risk of fall accidents. Nursing home staff should ensure that the facility is free of trip and fall or slip and fall hazards.

  • Inadequate assistance from staff – Many nursing home residents have muscle weakness and medical problems that make it hard for them to get out of bed, walk, or use the bathroom on their own. If staff do not provide the help they need, they may try to walk or do other activities without help and hurt themselves in the process. This is especially true for residents with dementia who may not understand their own limitations.

  • Overuse of sedating medication – Chemical restraint of a resident using medications such as sedatives violates the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. However, the practice of using medications to make residents docile and more easily managed still occurs. Sedating medication often leads to dizziness and sleepiness which increases the risk of fall accidents.

  • Inadequate supervision of residents – Residents must be properly supervised for their safety – especially if the resident has a history of falling or wandering into unsafe areas of the facility.

  • Untrained staff – Staff should be trained on how to safely move a resident from one location to the other, such as from a wheelchair to a bed.  Untrained staff may drop residents causing serious injuries.

  • Lack of safety equipment – Handrails, grab bars, and raised toilet seats are just some of the safety features nursing homes can use to reduce the chances of a resident falling.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Injury Lawyer

If your loved one suffered a fall accident in a nursing home, contact our Cook County nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys for help. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/slips-trips-falls

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8053619/

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