Falls in the elderly are a serious health problem in homes, nursing homes, group living situations and hospitals today. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to the emergency room and they are the primary care of accidental deaths in people over the age of 65. Falls are so serious that there are 1,800 deaths caused by falls each year and 9,500 deaths associated with falls.
Injuries from falls can include tissue injury, traumatic brain injury and bone fractures. Fractures to the hip, spine, arms, bones of the pelvis, hands and ankles and hips can be caused by falls. Of fractures, hip fractures are the most serious with 80% of hip fractures occurring in women.
There are various risk factors which can cause a person to fall. Risk factors include muscle weakness, diseases such as Parkinson, poor vision, fear of falling, medication side effects, clothing and footwear and environmental hazards such as slippery floors, missing handrails in halls and bathrooms and obstacles like throw rugs.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations have made it a requirement that hospitals assess fall risks in all patients in order to reduce falls. All hospitals and nursing homes are required to have fall prevention plans in place. Nurses, physicians, food servers and maintenance workers are all responsible to keep the patient safe.
If your loved one has been seriously injured in a nursing home fall due to negligence, you should contact a personal injury attorney. At The Farber Law Group, we have experience representing nursing home residents and their families.