Skilled Representation For Elderly Fall Injuries
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among seniors. It’s often a fall – or a series of falls – that leads to placement in a nursing home, assisted living center or hospital. These facilities are supposed to keep vulnerable elders safe. They’re supposed to have highly trained staff who know how to reduce the risk of falls. Yet, all too often, residents end up falling again while in professional care settings.
When a resident’s health is already frail, a fall can cause a sharp turn for the worse, wreaking havoc on fragile bones and ligaments. Hip, rib, back and head injuries often lead to a cascade of consequences. Statistics have shown that many fall victims never fully recover, and a significant number pass away within a year of suffering a catastrophic fall.
Was Negligence A Contributing Factor?
When a patient falls, it often turns out that an inattentive staff member wasn’t doing their job. Perhaps they failed to:
- Follow safety protocols for transferring patients: Staff members may violate safety protocols by practicing improper equipment usage, improper health monitoring, improper hygiene, improper lifting techniques and improper patient identification.
- Keep track of fall-risk patients: Fall-risk patients can get hurt if they are not treated with care.
- Adequately supervise patients, especially those who are prone to wander: Unsupervised patients are more likely to fall than properly supervised patients.
- Keep aggressive patients from pushing or harming others: Falls can occur when aggressive patients physically accost other patients.
- Keep bedrails in place: Patients can fall out of bed if their bedrails are improperly installed.
- Keep halls and walkways clear of obstacles: Obstacles are fall hazards for nursing home residents.
The facility itself may also have contributed to the accident – for example, by:
- Hiring unqualified staff members: Staff members without proper qualifications lack the ability to protect patients from falling.
- Failing to hire enough staff members to maintain a reasonable staff-to-patient ratio: Nursing home falls are a greater risk when facilities are understaffed.
- Failing to adequately train staff on the dangers of falls: Even well-intentioned staff members cannot prevent falls – or provide patients proper care after a fall – when nursing homes fail to teach them the necessary techniques.
- Failing to keep hand railings, bed rails and other equipment in proper working order: Deferred equipment maintenance is a textbook example of nursing home negligence.
- Failing to develop protocols for handling fall-risk patients: Without protocols in place, fall-risk patients might not be treated in a manner that prioritizes their safety.
- Failing to implement bed alarms: Bed alarms qualify as patient restraints, and some nursing homes may not use them due to their potential drawbacks. Regardless, they serve an important safety function since they alert staff members when patients leave their beds. Fall-risk patients can get hurt if they get up unsupervised, and accidents can occur when bed alarms are absent.
What Are The Most Common Reasons For Nursing Home Falls?
There are many factors that can lead to a serious fall in a nursing home. Common examples of these causes include:
- Balance problems
- Environmental hazards, like cluttered walkways
- Poor footwear
- Poor vision or lighting
- Lack of mobility assistance
It is up to the nursing home to prevent these factors from becoming present in a residence. Failing to do so should make them liable for the resulting consequences.
What Should You Do If A Loved One Falls In A Nursing Home?
There are a few things you need to make sure happen after your loved one falls. Here is a short list of steps you can follow:
- Make sure that your loved one is getting the medical attention they need.
- Alert the nursing home staff of the fall.
- Ask for a fall report, which the nursing home can provide and will include details of the fall.
- Follow any medical directions for the recovery process.
- Consult with an attorney to pursue the compensation you need to cover injury costs.
If you are not sure what to do after your loved one fell, contact us, we can provide you with the guidance you need.
At Ford, Dean & Rotundo, P.A., we understand the serious nature of falls among elders. We believe professional care facilities across Florida should be held accountable for keeping patients safe. If your elderly loved one has fallen, you can count on our attorneys to get answers. Our Florida fall injury lawyers are committed to seeking the truth and standing up for those who have no voice.