As people age, both the risk of falling and the potential risks of resulting injury tend to increase. Elder people residing in nursing homes may have more health risk factors that make them likely to fall. While falls may not necessarily result from outright abuse, failing to take preventative measures may fall into the category of negligence.
Common reasons why older people may fall include conditions or medications that affect balance, lack of appropriate walking aids and muscle weakness. Sometimes, elderly people may try to move on their own without seeking necessary assistance. Nursing homes need to meet standards of care for adequately handling residents who may experience all kinds of physical and cognitive issues that could put them at risk.
Reducing potential hazards
One way to reduce the risk of falls is to ensure a safe physical environment. This means adequate lighting, properly adjusted bed height and appropriate floor surfacing. Nursing homes should also provide wheelchairs or other walking aids that are in good condition and of proper size.
Fall prevention training
Staff training and availability can count as a huge factor in residents' well-being. Residents who should not be walking on their own may attempt to get up and walk if staff members do not come to assist them when needed.
Recommended fall prevention programs may include assessing each resident's fall risks and setting in place measures to reduce them. Across-the-board solutions may include regularly scheduled maintenance of floors, guard rails and mobility aids, and evaluation of each resident's medication regimen for potentially increasing fall risks. Sleep medication, in particular, may increase the likelihood of a fall.
Falls can cause serious injuries
Falls can have very serious consequences, especially for people who are elderly and may suffer from many types of health conditions. Common injuries include fractures (especially in the hip) and traumatic brain injury. Some signs that your loved one has suffered a fall may include unexplained bruises or other injuries, and fear of walking.