When is a nursing home fall neglect?

You may have a parent or a spouse or other loved one in a nursing home. Many people who live in nursing homes have serious health problems and chronic illnesses. Some have difficulty walking, problems with thinking and cognitive ability and other health conditions which require them to live someplace where they can receive the care they need.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a typical 100 bed nursing home will experience 100 to 200 falls of their patients in a given year. That is more than twice the average of seniors who live out in the community. Some 35% of falls are by elderly patients who can no longer walk.

Falls can be serious. Approximately 1,800 nursing home patients die from injuries sustained in a fall. Others have serious injures including broken bones, fractured skulls and hips.

If one of your loved ones experiences a fall and maybe even serious injuries, how do you know if that fall was a result of nursing home neglect? The following are signs of possible neglect:

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  • Environmental hazards — some falls are caused by hazards such as wet floors, incorrect bed height, wheel chairs that are not properly fitted or maintained, poor lighting and beds that are adjusted to the wrong height. Any of these causes may be a sign of nursing home neglect.
  • Foot care — another cause of falling may be improper foot care and inappropriate foot coverings. Elderly patients need assistance taking care of their feet. They often need help putting on shoes or other foot coverings. If an ambulatory patient is only given socks to wear without a sole, they may slip on slick floor surfaces. Sometimes nursing homes lack the personnel to take care of personal care like helping patients on with shoes. This may be a sign of neglect.
  • Failure to install safety devices — nursing homes need to have grab and pull bars near toilet seats and have handrails in the hallways. Without these devices, patients may fall. If a nursing home doesn’t have these basic items, this may be a sign of substandard care and neglect.
  • Restraints — some nursing homes place patients in restraints as their fall prevention plan. As your loved one’s advocate, be assured that restraints do not lower the risk of falls or injuries and may actually increase them. A patient in restraints can not exercise their muscles and their muscles become weak and atrophied and that increases their fall risk.
  • Dropping a patient — if a patient is injured while being moved from one place to another, this may be a sign of under staffing, poor training and lack of proper equipment.

If you are concerned that your loved one’s hip or skull fracture or other serious injury is due to the negligence of a nursing home, you should contact The Farber Law Group. We have more than 30 years experience in representing the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Located in Bellevue, Washington we represent clients all over Western Washington including Everett, Seattle, Renton, Redmond, and Kent. With our experience, we can help you insure that your loved one is receiving the care they deserve.