Falling in Missouri Nursing Homes: Leading Reasons Explained by our St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
There are many leading reasons why nursing home residents fall. Falls are one of the leading causes of death for a senior citizen, according to various sources. Even if a fall does not result in the death of an elderly person, it is usually the beginning of a decline in health. This is particularly true when head injuries, hip injuries, or back injuries are caused by the fall. And it is almost guaranteed when surgery is required to fix the damage from a fall. Research demonstrates that once a person falls the first time, his or her chance of falling again doubles. This is why many people believe that placing a loved one in a nursing home is a safe bet to prevent future falls.
Why do people feel comfortable placing their family members in a nursing home to prevent falls? Many times it is because the nursing home promises to provide their loved one a safe environment in which to live. But that is not always the case. In fact, nursing homes are plagued by falls. Sometimes it appears that nursing homes are so careless and that they are not even making an effort to prevent falls. Most of these falls are entirely preventable, and some of the falls may be directly due to the negligence of a Missouri nursing home.
Negligence may be wrongfully performing a specific act, such as helping a resident out of a wheelchair without the brakes on, or improperly assisting a resident to or from bed or even when a single employee tries to move a resident when the resident’s care plan requires two employees. Negligence may be due to a negligent omission, such as leaving a resident alone in the bathroom (sometimes for hours) when that resident is a fall risk or leaving a resident to fend for themselves even when the employee knows the residents needs help to go to the restroom. Either way, if a resident, or the family member of a deceased resident, can establish that his or her injuries after a fall were proximately caused by the negligence of a nursing home, he or she may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering for their injuries. When a resident dies from a fall caused by a negligent nursing home, certain family members may also be able to recover for the pain and suffering of the decedent as well as their own damages, such as loss of affection and loss of society.
What Causes Missouri Nursing Homes Falls?
There are two main leading reasons why nursing home residents fall. These are two preventable causes. The first cause is due to the negligent acts or omissions of a nursing home. The second cause is due to the lack of supervision by employees of residents whose actions should be closely monitored.
Actions by the Nursing Home – There are many leading reasons why nursing homes and their staff cause resident falls. Many times the reasons are due to reckless and careless conduct by the staff, but other times a fall may be caused by the failure to monitor, guard, and supervise residents. The leading causes of falls in a Missouri nursing home due to the actions of a nursing home include the following:
- Failure to use brakes on a wheelchair when a resident is sitting or standing;
- Placing carpets down in high traffic areas which can trip a resident;
- Neglecting to check on residents routinely and to escort to the restroom or for walks to stretch legs;
- Using “legged” furniture that can trip rather than closed side furniture;
- Not having enough staff members to meet the needs of the residents (this is a huge one and is almost always one of the reasons why residents fall);
- Transferring residents from bed to wheelchair or gurney to bed improperly;
- Failing to place proper bed alarms or ankle monitors on fall risk residents;
- Physical abuse on a resident, including pushing, shoveling, or tripping;
- Leaving debris, trash bags, vacuum cords, or other tripping hazards on the ground;
- Poor training of staff members to know resident needs or how to properly care for fall risk residents;
- Failing to clean spills, leaks, or rainwater on the floor;
- Neglecting to properly handle a resident during bathing time, including helping a resident get into a shower or bathtub, wash himself or herself, helping a resident step out of a shower or bathroom, assisting a resident in drying off, and helping to dress a resident;
- Using the wrong types of cleaners on the floor that are slippery; and
- Many other causes.
Risks to Residents that Cause Falls – In addition to the actions of nursing homes, residents may be caused to fall due to the inherent risks associated with their care. Some leading causes of falls in a Missouri nursing home due to the inherent risks associated with a resident’s care include the following:
- Medications which make residents tired, fatigued, drowsy, dizzy, unstable, or likely to fall;
- Dehydration which can create weakness;
- Inadequate nutrition which can create weakness;
- Failing to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar which could result in dizziness and fainting;
- Post-surgery care which requires extreme caution, especially for leg or hip surgeries;
- Failing to assess and generate an initial plan that a resident is a fall risk and to enact a protocol;
- Neglecting to monitor residents who are suffering from dementia and are prone to wandering or elopement; and
- Many other causes.
Residents Injured in a Missouri Nursing Home Fall Should Call our St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
These are just some of the leading reasons why nursing home residents fall. There is an endless number of ways that a resident could be caused to fall in a nursing home which could be the result in nursing home abuse, neglect, or malpractice. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Missouri nursing home fall, please call our St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer at the Terry Law Firm by dialing (314) 334-1441 to learn what your rights to compensation may be.