Families often struggle with the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home. Not only do older adults lose a degree of independence in such facilities, but they also have to invest a huge amount of their resources to cover the cost of a room in a nursing home. Despite how much nursing homes charge for their services, they often try to keep their costs as low as possible, frequently to the detriment of their most vulnerable residents.
Falls are a common issue for older adults in nursing homes despite moving into such facilities, in part, to protect them from falls and other life-threatening experiences. Can family members make a claim after someone falls and gets hurt at a nursing home?
Most falls are preventable
The tragedy for those whose loved ones who require extensive medical support or who experience a drastically diminished quality of life following a fall is that such scenarios are almost always preventable with better business practices. One of the leading causes of nursing home falls is chronic understaffing. A facility may not have enough employees on hand to address the needs of residents in a timely fashion. Residents will call for help when they want to get dressed, go down to the dining room or take a shower, only to end up waiting half an hour or longer for someone to respond to them. Many older adults will eventually give up on waiting when no help is immediately forthcoming and will try to manage matters on their own. That decision can unfortunately lead to someone falling and getting hurt.
Another common reason that understaffing leads to falls at nursing homes is that cleanliness often takes a backseat to other obligations when there aren’t enough workers to adequately support all of the residents. Finally, staff members failing to regularly interact with and evaluate residents might lead to them missing warning signs that someone’s fall risk has increased. Routine evaluations can help them more effectively intervene on behalf of those with mobility limitations. Provided that the fall itself is indicative of negligence and that it resulted in some kind of significant injury for the affected individual, it may be possible to pursue a personal injury claim after someone gets hurt at a nursing home. A claim can both help cover the costs of someone’s treatment and also push a nursing home to change some of its practices.
Taking action on behalf of a loved one who did not receive proper support in a nursing home can create consequences for the party responsible while limiting consequences for the adult who fell, who is the true victim in the situation.