Falls are very common in nursing homes throughout Georgia. Residents are more susceptible to falls due to muscle weakness, reduced flexibility, balance problems, medication side effects, and other factors. Because of this, facilities have a responsibility to take steps to prevent falls from happening. When they don't, a nursing home neglect lawyer can help hold them accountable for their negligence.
What is the most common injury when a resident falls?
Residents who fall in nursing homes are at high risk of suffering broken bones, including:
- Hip fractures: These serious injuries typically occur when a resident falls and lands on their hip, causing a break in the upper part of the femur (thigh bone) near the hip joint.
- Broken wrists: When residents attempt to break their fall by extending their arms, they may suffer a wrist fracture, such as a broken radius or ulna.
- Ankle fractures: These injuries occur when the resident lands on their foot in an unnatural or forceful way, resulting in a break in one or more of the ankle bones, such as the tibia or fibula.
- Spinal fractures: Residents with reduced bone density who fall on their backs can experience fractures in the vertebrae of the spine.
- Shoulder fractures: Landing on the shoulder during a fall can result in fractures of the shoulder joint, clavicle (collarbone), or humerus (upper arm bone).
- Broken ribs: Rib fractures can occur when a resident falls and experiences a direct impact to the chest area, such as landing on a hard surface or striking an object.
How do nursing home falls happen?
Nursing home neglect can contribute to falls among residents. Common examples of neglect include:
Nursing home staff should provide appropriate supervision to residents, especially those at risk of falling. Failure to monitor residents or leaving them unsupervised can make a fall more likely to happen.
Lack of assistance
Residents who need help with mobility or transferring should receive assistance from nursing home staff.
Certain medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or balance problems, increasing the risk of falls. Therefore, nursing home staff should carefully administer medications and monitor residents for any side effects that may affect their stability.
Obstructions and other hazards
Nursing homes should maintain a safe environment by addressing potential falling hazards such as wet floors, cluttered walkways, inadequate lighting, loose carpets, or improper bed heights.
Inadequate mobility aids
Residents who require mobility aids like walkers, canes, or wheelchairs should be provided with appropriate equipment and regular maintenance.
Lack of fall prevention protocols
Nursing homes should have comprehensive fall prevention protocols in place. These may include assessments of residents' fall risk, individualized care plans, staff training on fall prevention techniques, and regular monitoring and evaluation of residents' safety.
Understaffing or inadequate training
If staff members are overwhelmed with responsibilities or lack the necessary knowledge and skills, it can increase the likelihood of falls occurring.
Talk to a nursing home neglect lawyer about your rights and options
When falls result from nursing home neglect, negligent facilities need to be held accountable. But the legal process can be complicated. That's why you need an experienced Georgia nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer who knows how to investigate and build a strong case.
If a loved one fell in a nursing home due to neglect, Kurle Justus, LLC can help. Our firm has been fighting for nursing home residents in Decatur and throughout the state since 2004. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.