Nursing homes help keep our nation’s elderly safe, secure, and happy. Or, at least, they are meant to. Unfortunately, there are many preventable fall accidents in nursing homes around the country every day. For this reason, educating yourself and your elderly loved one about the common causes of nursing home falls is crucial. Doing so will ensure your elderly loved one stays safe and secure within their nursing home in 2023. Here are the nine common causes of preventable nursing home fall accidents you should know about:
1. Neglectful Behavior
Neglectful behavior can take many forms. The more in sync you are with your elderly loved one, the easier it will be to watch out for signs of neglectful behavior. If elderly patients are neglected, they will be in poor mental and physical health, which significantly increases their chance of being involved in a fall accident. Hiring a qualified nursing home fall accident attorney can help you seek justice if you find yourself in this tragic scenario.
2. Poorly Maintained Facilities
A nursing home must be kept clean, tidy, and well-maintained if they want to keep their elderly patients safe. Loose wires, tripping hazards, and other after-effects of poorly maintained facilities greatly increase the chance of fall accidents happening, after all. When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, you should always take note of how clean, tidy, and well-maintained the facility is. If you notice the environment becoming more hazardous, you should sound the alarm.
3. Broken Equipment
Elderly patients in nursing homes rely on a wide range of equipment to lead comfortable, safe, and healthy lives. From specialized beds to wheelchairs, this equipment helps them stay functional day-to-day. If that equipment is broken, or even simply poorly maintained, it puts the patient using it at risk of falls and other accidents. Wrongful deaths in nursing homes that are caused by poorly-maintained or damaged equipment are unfortunately much more common than many people assume.
4. Poorly Lit Areas
If a person cannot properly see their environment, the chances of them tripping or falling over become much higher. Nursing homes are typically brightly and broadly lit for this reason. Even seemingly harmless areas of shadow or low lighting can become disastrous for elderly patients with severe vision issues, after all. If you suspect your loved one needs vision assistance in their nursing home, you should be proactive about getting them the help they need (and deserve).
5. Exit Hazards
Simply getting through a door or another type of exit can be troublesome for some elderly patients (especially wheelchair-bound patients). Residents who need help getting through doors and other exits will be put at risk of fall injuries if any hazards exist in these key areas. For this reason, there are often strict guidelines surrounding the way exits must be presented and maintained within America’s nursing homes.
6. Poor Health
Unfortunately, nursing home falls are not always due to negligence or maintenance mishaps. In some cases, a resident’s poor health simply puts them at higher risk of experiencing a fall accident. Patients with poor blood pressure, vision, and mobility are especially at-risk. For this reason, nursing home staff members should be hyper-aware of patients and residents who need extra help day-to-day.
7. Medication Mismanagement
Medication management is a massive part of running a nursing home effectively, and safely. For this reason, if a resident’s medication is being mismanaged, many horrible after-effects can occur. Not only can this cause long-term health issues or even death, but it can cause residents to become incredibly disoriented as well. For elderly residents, even slight moments of disorientation can lead to harmful, or deadly, fall accidents.
8. Staffing Errors
When a nursing home fails to staff the right personnel or is understaffed, the chances of unintentional negligence and mismanagement rise significantly. For this reason, you should sound the alarm if you discover that your loved one’s nursing home is being poorly run, or if the staff is presenting obvious signs of mismanagement. Poorly trained staff can also greatly boost the chances that residents will fall victim to preventable fall accidents.
9. Lack of Planning
To keep nursing homes safe, a ton of behind-the-scenes planning and micro-management becomes a necessity. Nursing homes that are not well-run, or that do not have specific plans for day-to-day operations, become much riskier for the patients living there. Looking for the most reputable and well-equipped nursing home for your elderly loved one is your best tool in preventing fall accidents for this reason.