The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1,800 older adults die every year from fall-related injuries in nursing homes. The CDC also estimates that 10 to 20 percent of nursing home falls cause serious injuries resulting in disability, decline in overall function, and reduced quality of life. While nursing homes are obligated to create safe environments for their residents, repetitions of slip and fall in a nursing home injuries may result in prolonged suffering as well as damaging lawsuits.
Who is at fault in slip and fall accidents?
A slip and fall accident in an at-home environment often holds no legal grounds for liability, although it is typically one of the primary reasons why elderly people begin requiring the constant care of nursing homes. In care facilities, failure to adhere to plans and procedures may result in the negligence claims necessary to file a lawsuit. When caring for residents, nursing homes have the legal responsibility to assess the needs of each resident and develop care plans that lower the likelihood of falls.
Should it be determined that a fall is the result of nursing home staff failing to attend to the needs of a resident or handling a resident without proper training, the staff or facility may be liable. Other factors that indicate liability in a slip and fall accident include the lack of proper nursing home equipment, incorrectly restraining a resident, or lacking adequate staff needed to properly assess and care for the residents.
What conditions can cause slip and fall accidents in nursing homes?
A variety of factors and conditions cause nursing home slip and fall injuries. Examples of such circumstances include:
Improper bed rails and restraints
Wet floors and floor clutter
Insufficient chair padding
Muscle weakness and walking-gait problems
Failure to respond to alarms and call lights
Poor lighting in rooms and hallways
Improperly maintained equipment
Insufficient or inexperienced staff members
How can staff prevent slip and fall injuries in nursing homes?
Preventing injuries from slip and fall accidents in nursing homes is sometimes challenging. Through a combination of treatment plans, environmental adjustments, and proper rehabilitation, nursing homes can take positive steps towards improving the safety and comfort of their residents.
Elements of slip and fall prevention include:
Proper patient assessment
Review of medications
Grab bar and handrail installation
Lowered bed and seat heights
Properly maintained wheelchairs
Frequent staff meetings and training sessions
What is the assessment process after a slip and fall accident in a nursing home?
Accidents happen, and a single fall in a nursing home does not always mean that the facility is at fault for negligence or abuse. The process of assessing nursing home responsibility when a resident falls includes incident history evaluation, examination of medical charts, and review of the nursing home’s procedures. If injuries result from nursing home negligence or abuse, contacting a Buffalo slip and fall attorney for a consultation can help resolve disputes and prevent future injuries to nursing home residents.