We put our loved ones in nursing homes when they can no longer care for themselves. Putting a family member in someone else’s care can be daunting, but most nursing homes are staffed with caring and loving individuals – those who will care for our loved ones as if they were their own. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen, especially in a nursing home setting. If your loved one has suffered fall-related injuries at his or her nursing home and you suspect negligence, you may wish to speak with a Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney to learn about your available legal options moving forward.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in nursing homes. In fact, 36% of all falls in the elderly occur in a nursing home setting. Consider the following disturbing statistics:
- A 100-bed nursing home reports 100-200 falls of their residents each year.
- Fall related injuries cause 1,800 deaths each year.
- Adults over the age of 65 are 4 times more likely to die of fall-related injuries in nursing homes compared to those who live in other settings.
- Up to 27% of falls in a nursing home setting are related to environmental hazards.
A fall to an elderly person can be devastating, leading to complications such as hematoma or broken bones. Fortunately, there are several ways to mitigate the risk of falls in a nursing home setting.
Preventing Falls in a Nursing Home
You can help prevent falls for your loved one, even if they don’t live with you. Heed the following tips:
- Know your loved one’s risk factors. There are certain conditions that make some residents more likely to fall than others. For example, residents who have fallen before are up to 6.7 times more likely to fall again. Likewise, those suffering from cognitive impairments such as dementia may be more likely to sustain injury because of difficulty balancing. People with diabetes and female patients are also statistically more likely to fall. Knowing which risk factors your loved one is exposed to can help you make decisions regarding their care and supervision.
- Keep your loved ones involved. Active participation in a workout plan can be effective in preventing falls. In fact, these interventions can lead to a 30% decrease in falls and a 37% decrease in injury-causing falls. Workout plans don’t have to be anything strenuous or intense – in fact, walking and participating in low-intensity exercise such as water aerobics or resistance training can have a positive effect.
- Keep an open dialogue. In preventing falls, an open conversation between you and the staff members of the facility is key. Since they see your loved one on an everyday basis, they can keep you informed of their condition and of any developing risk factors.
- Tour the facility. When choosing a facility for your loved one, keep an eye out for possible environmental hazards. Does the facility seem accessible and safe? Are there plenty of ramps and a good staff to resident ratio? These factors can all mitigate risk of falling.
Nursing home falls can lead to serious injury, but they’re also preventable. By keeping an eye on your loved one’s risk factors, assuring an open dialogue, and keeping your loved ones active, you can substantially mitigate their risk of falls.