Falling is a common risk for elders, and suffering just one fall doubles the probability that a person will fall again.
More than one in every four adults over the age of 65 will fall each year, and one out of every five falls results in a serious injury. This raises questions as to whether or not nursing homes are taking this problem seriously.
About falls in nursing homes
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in their 2015 report, noted that the data available showed that between 14.9 and 16.3 percent of nursing home residents in Alabama had suffered a recent fall. Additionally, roughly 5 percent of nursing home residents in the state had suffered a recent fall which resulted in a serious injury. How severe can fall injuries be?
Falls can cause broken bones and head injuries. In fact, according to the CDC, 95 percent of all broken hip cases are the result of a fall. They usually occur when an elder falls sideways. Patients on blood thinners run a higher risk of suffering severe effects from a fall. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injury among elders.
Even when a fall does not cause an immediate injury, it can impact the elder's quality of life. The fear of falling again may restrict older people from participating in activities that provide much-needed exercise and enjoyment.
Causes of falls
Aging Care reports that falls are the most common cause of death, injury, and hospital admission among the elderly. There are a number of factors that can cause falls. Declining physical fitness, especially due to a decrease in physical activity, can make elders unsteady on their feet and prevent them from catching themselves safely in the event of a fall. Impaired vision or medications that distort the senses or mental state of individuals can hinder the ability of elders to see and respond to their environment. Chronic illness and surgical procedures may also cause instability and poor reactions to the environment. These are factors that nursing homes cannot directly control but need to take steps to mitigate.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of falling. For instance, many Alabama nursing homes have poor lighting, loose carpets, slick floors, and general clutter in walkways. These environmental hazards pose a significant danger to residents' health and well-being. Additionally, when nursing home staff fail to provide adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents, they are in violation of federal regulations.
Nursing homes have an obligation to ensure the safety of their residents to the best of their ability, and when they allow a floor to fall into disrepair or a burnt-out light to continue limiting visibility in hallways, they put our elders in danger. If your loved one has suffered due to nursing home neglect, contact us today to begin reclaiming their rights and dignity.