When is a Nursing Home Liable for a Resident's Fall?
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Sep 26, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse
Approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from falls every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While some falls are unavoidable, others are caused by negligence and could have been prevented.
The nursing home fall injuries lawyers of PKSD provide representation for families pursuing legal claims for loved ones who were injured or killed by a fall at a nursing home. Contact us right away for a free consultation so we can determine if the facility or any staff members could be held liable for the damages your loved one has suffered.
Below, we discuss how falls happen and explain some of the reasons facilities can be held liable for this form of nursing home abuse.
When Falls Indicate Nursing Home Negligence
Between 100 and 200 falls are reported by the typical nursing home each year, with many more going unreported, according to the CDC.
If the fall occurred because of any of the reasons below, the facility could be held responsible and your loved one may be owed compensation:
Poor training leaves staff members without the skills necessary to accurately monitor and care for residents who are at risk of falling and suffering a personal injury. This includes training on how to help patients transfer out of bed and into a wheelchair and how to monitor patients who have a high risk of falling.
Turnover is often quite high in nursing homes, leaving facilities understaffed. Employees who are working must pick up the slack, leaving them burdened and unable to provide attentive care to every resident. This leads to cutting corners and neglecting residents, particularly residents who are at risk of falling.
Failure to Closely Monitor At-Risk Residents
All nursing homes are legally required to assess residents for fall risks. Performing a fall risk assessment should be done when designing a resident’s care plan to promote health and safety. When these assessments are done incorrectly or not completed, a resident could have a higher risk of falling.
Once a nursing home resident is deemed to have a high risk of falling, it is the duty of nursing home staff members to keep an eye on him or her at all times. They should always be on-hand to provide assistance as well, such as when the resident needs to get out of bed or out of a wheelchair. Serious falls may occur if the staff leaves a high-risk resident unattended for just a few minutes.
Malfunctions or Misuse of Equipment
This refers to equipment that is designed to protect residents from falls, such as walking aids and bed rails. When these things are defective or broken, there is a much higher risk for falls.
Nursing homes need to ensure the equipment that is being used at their facilities is in proper working order.
Errors When Transferring Residents
This refers to situations where a resident is transferring out of bed or out of a wheelchair into bed or onto a toilet. One wrong move and the resident could fall because he or she lacks the strength or coordination to prevent it.
Giving a resident the wrong medication, wrong dosage or missing a dose could have disastrous consequences. For example, a resident's blood pressure could drop, making him or her feel lightheaded, which can result in poor balance and coordination.
These are just some of the many reasons a nursing home could be held liable for a fall. You should discuss your loved one's fall with a skilled attorney to determine if it was caused by nursing home neglect.
Preventing Nursing Home Falls
The CDC recommends following the protocol developed by the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries initiative, also called the STEADI protocol, to lower fall risk among elderly patients. STEADI’s tools can be used by nursing homes to best identify patients at risk of falls as well as interventions that should be used to help prevent falls.
Contact Our Nursing Home Fall Injuries Attorneys
Elderly residents and their families rely on nursing home facilities for safe and adequate care. When that care is not provided, the elderly can sustain serious injuries from nursing home falls.
If you believe a nursing home was responsible for your loved one’s fall, let the attorneys of PKSD work to hold them accountable.
Schedule a free, no obligation case consultation today. Our lawyers work on contingency, so we only get paid if we successfully recover compensation for you.