Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
Birmingham & Throughout Alabama

Understanding Nursing Home Falls & Fractures

Nursing home resident using walker with assistance from staff.

In nursing homes, a significant number of residents suffer severe injuries, such as broken bones, as a result of falls. What makes matters worse is that many of these injuries could have been avoided if not for nursing home abuse and neglect.

That's why it is essential for family members and loved ones to recognize the signs of neglect and abuse in nursing homes, as these factors can lead to serious injuries like broken bones. If you suspect that your loved one's injury resulted from abuse or neglect in an Alabama nursing home, contact Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC to review your potential legal options. We are here to help.

How common are nursing home falls?

Nursing home falls are quite common and pose a significant risk to older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3 million individuals aged 65 and above experience fall-related injuries annually, necessitating emergency room medical attention.

Within nursing homes, approximately 50 to 75 percent of residents encounter falls and subsequent injuries each year, as reported by the CDC. This rate is twice as high as that observed among older adults residing outside nursing homes.

In Alabama specifically, CDC data reveals that more than 28 percent of adults aged 65 and above experience falls annually, leading to over 231,000 fall-related injuries throughout the state.

More nursing home fall injury data

According to the CDC, despite only 5 percent of adults over 65 residing in nursing homes, these residents account for 20 percent of all fall-related deaths within the age group. This equates to approximately 1,800 fall-related deaths involving nursing home residents each year.

Moreover, the CDC notes that many nursing home residents experience multiple falls annually. On average, a nursing home resident falls 2.6 times per year. Alarmingly, approximately 35 percent of these falls involve residents who are unable to walk, indicating a higher vulnerability among individuals with mobility limitations within nursing homes.

How common are bone fracture injuries in nursing homes?

Bone fracture injuries are common among nursing home residents who experience falls. Hip fractures are particularly prevalent in this population. The CDC reports that annually, adults over 65 sustain around 300,000 hip fractures, making them one of the most frequent injuries among older adults.

In addition to hip fractures, falls in nursing homes can result in other types of broken bones such as fractures to the arms, wrists, legs, and skull. These fractures often accompany concussions and various traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Shockingly, the CDC reveals that 1 out of every 5 falls involving adults over 65 leads to a broken bone or head injury.

What causes nursing home falls?

  • Unmarked hazards: Unsuitable conditions within the nursing home, such as unattended spills or slippery surfaces, can lead to falls. This can result from negligence or inadequate maintenance.
  • Poor lighting: Insufficient lighting, particularly in dimly lit hallways or common areas, can make it difficult for older adults to navigate safely, increasing the chances of falls.
  • Incorrect bed height: Beds that are improperly adjusted or set too high can contribute to falls when residents attempt to get in or out of bed.
  • Improperly fitted wheelchairs: Ill-fitting or poorly maintained wheelchairs can pose a risk, as residents may fall or be ejected from their chairs, leading to injuries.
  • Muscle weakness: Lack of mobility or physical activity, often due to neglectful care or prolonged bed rest, can result in muscle weakness, making nursing home residents more prone to falls.
  • Abusive behavior: Some falls in nursing homes may be caused by abusive actions by nursing home staff, such as pushing or knocking residents to the ground.

What can nursing homes do to prevent falls?

  • Regularly clean the nursing home.
  • Check for hazardous situations, such as spilled water or unmarked hazards.
  • Have enough nursing home employees on staff to properly care for residents.
  • Provide nursing home residents with regular exercise to prevent muscle atrophy.
  • Report nursing home staff members to the proper authorities if nursing home abuse or neglect occurs in a facility.

A nursing home abuse attorney can help.

Even if your loved one's broken bone is currently under investigation by the Alabama Department of Public Health or another relevant agency, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation to advocate for your family's rights. A nursing home abuse lawyer can launch a comprehensive investigation into the matter and pursue appropriate compensation for various damages, including medical expenses and your loved one's pain and suffering.

Nursing home facilities often deny any wrongdoing and have teams of attorneys to protect their interests. At Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC, based in Birmingham, AL, we can help you level the playing field. As your attorney, we can conduct a thorough investigation, tirelessly gather evidence to support your claim or lawsuit, and aggressively pursue the compensation your family deserves. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is located in Birmingham, and we proudly represent families throughout the state.

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