How Common are Falls in Nursing Homes?

Fall accidents are one of the most common ways nursing home residents are injured. The CDC estimates that one in four people over 65 fall each year, and falling once doubles the odds of falling again.

Data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates that 1 in 3 nursing home residents fall two or more times a year.

Fall Risk Factors

Several conditions can contribute to the risk of falls in nursing homes, such as:

  • Gait and balance problems
  • Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis
  • Medications like sedatives and water pills
  • Vision and hearing impairments

Environmental factors can also pose a fall risk, including:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Poor lighting
  • Unstable furniture
  • Lack of grab bars

Nursing homes have a responsibility to address these factors and implement preventive measures to help residents avoid fall accidents.

Common Nursing Home Fall Injuries

According to the CDC, one out of five falls cause serious injuries, which can severely reduce a nursing home resident’s quality of life. In fact, some people who fall may develop a fear of falling that causes them to withdraw from their daily activities; this in turn can actually increase the probability of another fall since inactivity makes the body weaker.

Some of the most common injuries from falls are:

Hip Fractures

More than 300,000 older people are hospitalized each year after suffering hip fractures. These injuries are debilitating and often require surgery and extensive rehab.

Cuts and Abrasions

If a resident falls against furniture or sharp objects, they could cut themselves. The wound should be cleaned and cared for by staff to prevent infection.

Head Injuries

Head injuries, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries, can have long-term effects on cognitive function and overall well-being.

Some injuries like concussions may not be apparent at first. If a head injury goes unnoticed and unreported by nursing home staff, complications could lead to a wrongful death if treatment isn’t administered promptly.

Is a Nursing Home Liable for Falls?

Nursing homes should keep residents safe and make sure they’re properly cared for. If your loved one fell due to the nursing home’s negligence, they could be held liable for the injuries.

Examples of Nursing Home Negligence in Fall Accidents

The nursing home could be liable for your loved one’s fall if they:

  • Failed to create or adjust a care plan based on the resident’s needs, including fall risk
  • Left the resident unsupervised
  • Failed to maintain a safe environment free of hazards
  • Didn’t respond promptly to call lights or requests for help
  • Didn’t provide assistive mobility equipment
  • Hired unqualified employees
  • Failed to properly train staff

Who Is Liable for a Nursing Home Fall?

Several parties could be held responsible for a nursing home fall, such as:

  • The nursing home: The facility can be liable for negligence if it fails to provide a safe environment, adequate supervision, or hires unqualified employees.
  • Staff members: Individual staff members, such as nurses, caregivers, or other personnel, may be held personally liable if they failed to follow established protocols, provide necessary assistance, or ignored safety concerns.
  • Administrators and management: The company responsible for staffing and managing the nursing home may be held accountable if systemic issues such as poor training programs or insufficient safety standards contribute to a resident’s fall.

Your nursing home fall lawyer in Pennsylvania will help you identify all the parties who could be liable for your loved one’s fall and hold them accountable through a personal injury claim.

Possible Compensation for a Fall Accident Injury Claim

You could recover compensation for both economic and non-economic losses resulting from a nursing home fall, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation and medical equipment costs
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Wrongful Death Damages for Fatal Fall Accidents

If your loved one died after a fall at a nursing home, your family could recover compensation for their wrongful death. These damages would cover losses for funeral expenses and the financial support the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse, designated beneficiaries, or heirs. In addition, wrongful death damages can provide compensation for the grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship your family has suffered.

A nursing home fall lawyer will explain Pennsylvania’s wrongful death and survival laws and how they could be included in your claim.

How Can Nursing Home Falls Be Prevented?

Many nursing home falls can be prevented with a comprehensive plan including:

  • Proper Precautions: Every patient’s risk of falling should be regularly assessed and monitored, especially if they become less mobile or are put on new medication.
  • Facility Maintenance: The grounds of the facility should be well-maintained and clean. Equipment and furniture should be inspected and replaced if it becomes hazardous.
  • Experienced and Well-Trained Staff: Employees at the nursing home should be well-educated on fall prevention and know how to care for patients who are at risk.

Nursing homes may try to avoid accountability by claiming your loved one’s accident was unpreventable, but many factors affect preventability. Whether your loved one’s fall was preventable depends on the answers to questions such as:

  • Was the patient deemed a fall risk? If so, how did the facility respond?
  • Does the patient have a history of falls?
  • What fall prevention options does the facility offer?

Some cases might require in-depth investigation to determine what happened. Your nursing home fall lawyer in Pennsylvania will work with experts to uncover the truth and find the answers you deserve.

Was Your Loved One Hurt in a Nursing Home Fall? Call Atlee Hall Today 

If your loved one fell in a nursing home due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve justice. Filing a claim doesn’t just help bring you and your family peace of mind— it can help create change and make nursing homes safer so there are fewer accidents in the future.

Call the nursing home fall lawyers of Atlee Hall today. We’ll investigate what happened, help you build a strong claim, and hold negligent parties accountable for the harm they cause.

Call (717) 393-9596 today or contact us for a free consultation.