Most people are aware of the impact that falls can have on elderly people. When your elderly loved one falls occur at a nursing home, however, you may have new concerns. Could this fall have been prevented? Was it the result of abuse or neglect? Can you hold caregivers or nursing home facilities responsible for their part in your loved one’s injuries?
How common are falls in nursing facilities?
Falls at nursing homes are more common than many people may believe. On average, a nursing home with 100 beds will report between 100 and 200 falls in a year. Worse, negligent or abusive conditions in a nursing home can leave many more unreported.
Could a fall be a sign of neglect?
While many falls are unfortunate accidents, a fall could also be a sign that your loved one has been neglected in a nursing home. If you believe that your loved one was the victim of neglect, look for other signs of nursing home neglect:
- Other unexplained injuries or bedsores
- Dehydration or inadequate nutrition among residents
- Unsanitary or unclean conditions at the nursing home
- Cluttered hallways, uneven floors or other unaddressed tripping hazards
- Lack of mobility
Negligent conditions can leave nursing home residents without the care they need to safely move throughout the facility. Poor maintenance could have contributed to your loved one’s fall, or understaffing could have left them without the help they needed.
Could a fall be a sign of abuse?
In addition to neglect, it is possible for abuse in a nursing home setting to cause falls and other injuries. Elderly people in these care facilities rely on their caregivers for many of their daily activities, and this power can lead those caregivers to abuse their residents. Abusive caregivers may handle residents roughly or pull them, leaving them unable to maintain their balance. They may also intentionally punch, trip or push residents.
If you believe that your loved one was mistreated, document the accident.
In a negligent or abusive environment, your loved one’s caregivers may not report the full details of the accident. It can be essential to document these issues yourself, from the date and time of the accident to any inconsistencies or signs of neglect you have seen.
You may also want to discuss your suspicions with an attorney. Skilled legal counsel can help you take action against negligent or abusive care facilities and fight to get your loved one the support they deserve.