Nursing home patients who survive a fall may sustain injuries that harm their quality of life and result in other debilitating consequences.
Many nursing home residents in Ohio fall and injure themselves every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average nursing home with 100 beds reports between 100 and 200 falls on an annual basis. These accidents result in serious consequences for nursing home patients that often threaten their lives.
Common consequences of nursing home falls
Every year, the CDC states that approximately 1,800 nursing home patients pass away from injuries sustained in a fall. Those who do survive their fall-related injuries may experience other adverse consequences, which according to the Department of Health & Human Services, may include:
- An increased fear of falling in the future
- A reduced overall quality of life
- A decreased ability to function
- Feelings of depression, hopelessness and social isolation
Nursing home patients who sustain injuries in a fall may also become unable to participate in activities that they used to enjoy before the accident.
What causes falls?
There are many intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can lead to serious falls in nursing homes. According to the DHHS, some common intrinsic fall risk factors include acute medical conditions, deconditioning from inactivity and medication side effects. The effects of aging on an elderly person’s balance and strength are also considered intrinsic factors that can impact his or her risk of falling.
Some of the extrinsic risk factors that are often present in nursing homes include unsafe equipment, unsafe personal care items and environmental hazards. For example, a nursing home patient may fall in an area that is poorly lit or in a room that has an uneven floor.
Can nursing home falls be prevented?
According to the CDC, there are several fall prevention practices nursing homes can implement to reduce fall-related injuries and deaths among their residents. For example, nursing homes can educate their staff about what risk factors contribute to falls and how they can be prevented. Nursing homes can also make changes in their environment to make it easier for patients to get around. For example, a nursing home may install handrails in the hallways, raise toilet seats in their restrooms and lower the heights of the beds.
Although injurious falls can be prevented in certain situations, many nursing homes in Ohio fail to implement practices that can keep their residents from falling and hurting themselves. If you or one of your loved ones sustained injuries in a nursing home after falling, speak with an attorney in your area to determine what you can do to assert your legal rights.
Keywords: nursing home, abuse, injury