Dangerous Falls May Not Be Reported in Nursing Homes

Patients take dangerous falls in nursing homes around the US every year. While these facilities have sometimes received a bad rap over the years, there are many offering the best in care to their residents and patients, and we all know that accidents happen–especially for older patients not feeling well. Some patients may be in nursing homes for rehabilitation after an injury, surgery, or an illness and will stay for a short time—often less than a month. Others in nursing homes may become full-time residents. They may need intensive care, and most likely will not be able to go back home.

If you have ever cared for or spent extended time with a parent or grandparent who is elderly or has been dealing with health issues, you are probably aware that falling is always a concern; in fact, thousands of senior citizens die each year due to injuries and further complications from falls. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of injury overall. If someone over 65 falls once and is injured, it’s likely that family members and caretakers will worry about their safety from that point on. That is often the point where independence becomes hampered, and eventually in-home care or a nursing home may become a necessity—as well as a big expense.

As a family member or caretaker, you know how hard it is to be there every second. So, imagining what might happen in a nursing home is stressful. And the reality is that patients and residents will still experience falls once in nursing homes; in fact, they tend to fall more often due to failing health, weakness due to medication, and more. Most nursing homes have specific protocol in place to document falls, but unfortunately that is not always followed for reasons such as a reluctance to do paperwork, carelessness in job performance, and fear of personal blame for the accident or liability for the facility.

If you suspect an injury has occurred to a loved one in a nursing home, but it was not reported, consult with an experienced personal injury law firm like Heintz & Becker immediately. Any fall should be reported and investigated. While negligence in nursing homes can take many forms, even if a fall is reported, it may not include certain details about issues like poor lighting, slippery areas, as well as problems with wheelchairs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of thousands of individuals over 65 are seen in emergency rooms each year after falling, often with broken bones, serious hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and more. Even if they do not have a major injury, they may become so traumatized and worried about falling again that they do not want to engage in activities, reducing the quality of their lives significantly.

“Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Healthcare providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”

If you suspect a report has not been filed regarding a nursing home injury or a loved one has fallen due to negligence in such a facility, please contact Heintz & Becker now so one of our experienced attorneys can review your case. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.