When are Nursing Homes Liable for Injuries from Falls?
Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Apr 12, 2018 in Nursing Home Neglect
Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of this, nursing homes and other assisted living facilities have a duty to help protect elderly individuals from increased risks of falling. Any failure to do this, could make the facility responsible for injuries caused by falling.
If your loved one was injured or killed because of a fall in a nursing home that could have been prevented, you may have legal options. Contact the trusted team of nursing home neglect attorneys at D’Amico & Pettinicchi for a free consultation to learn more.
Nursing Home Duty to Prevent Falls
Nursing home residents are ensured certain rights and freedoms that nursing homes must provide. This includes the right to care and safety that is appropriate for each resident’s needs. This requires that nursing home facilities asses each resident’s fall risk and put together an appropriate care plan to prevent falls in high-risk patients.
If a nursing home fails to provide safeguards for residents, fails to correct a hazard or otherwise does not provide a safe environment for its residents, the facility has failed in its duty to protect its residents and could potentially be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Situations of Negligence that Could Lead to Falls
While some falls are accidental and unavoidable, many can be prevented with proper care and attention. Some situations in which a nursing home’s negligence may result in falls include:
When a nursing home is understaffed, residents may not be monitored as they should be. This could lead to residents attempting to handle tasks on their own that they usually would require help with, such as getting out of bed or using the restroom. This can significantly increase a resident’s risk of falling and suffering an injury.
If a nursing home’s staff is not properly trained on how to monitor patients who are at risk for falls or if they do not know how to safely transfer residents, patients are at risk of falling.
Problems Transferring Residents
A nursing home resident may need to be transferred out of his or her bed into a wheelchair or vice versa. Likewise, he or she may need to be transferred from a wheelchair to a toilet or shower stall. If the nursing home staff is not careful during this process, the resident may fall and suffer serious injuries as a result.
If a nursing home resident has been identified as having a high fall risk, the nursing home has a duty to monitor him or her more closely to prevent falls. Nursing home staff should be available to assist the resident when needed.
A nursing home resident’s medication must also be closely monitored. The wrong medication or dosage can increase the resident’s likelihood of falling. A bad combination of drugs can have a similar effect.
In some situations, the quality of care a nursing home’s staff provides is not in question. However, there may be medical equipment that is defective. For example, a wheelchair or walker may not work properly and may cause the resident to fall. In these types of situations, a product liability claim may be an option.
Find Out if You Have a Case
Falls often have serious consequences. A nursing home resident can suffer from internal bleeding, a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or other serious injury that can have lasting effects. Such consequences can significantly and adversely affect the resident’s quality of life.
If you suspect that your loved one’s fall was caused by a negligent nursing home, let our experienced personal injury attorneys help you with your claim. We hold negligent nursing homes accountable and pursue maximum compensation for all claims.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.