Nursing Home Falls Cause Serious Injury

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys negligence falls cause serious injury
If you or a loved one have fallen due to the negligence or abuse of nursing home caregiver, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free consultation.
The dropping or falling of a nursing home resident can have serious consequences on that person’s quality of life. Each year, an average nursing home reports one to two falls or drops per resident. About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries.
Residents who experience non-fatal falls can suffer serious injuries that greatly reduce their quality of life. Residents have the right to live their remaining years with dignity, and avoidable falls rob them of this dignity and often accellerate their death.

How serious are these falls?

Nursing home falls can cause serious injuries including head trauma and fractures. Many times, the nursing home resident who suffers a fracture is not a candidate for corrective surgical measures. Falls result in disability, increased functional decline and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.

Why do falls occur more often in nursing homes?

Falling can be a sign of other health problems. People in nursing homes are generally more frail and unstable than older adults living in the community. The problem is that nursing homes don’t always take the appropriate measure to prevent avoidable falls. Also, nursing home employees often take shortcuts that lead to the dropping residents.

Residents are generally older, have more chronic conditions, and have difficulty walking. They also tend to have problems with thinking or memory, to have difficulty with activities of daily living, and to need help getting around or taking care of themselves. Of course, this is generally the reason the family trusted the nursing home to care for their loved one in the first place.
The nursing home has a duty to properly assess a resident’s probability for falls, and to communicate with their physician to institute appropriate measures to prevent avoidable falls and drops.

What are the most common causes of nursing home falls?

Nursing homes know muscle weakness and walking or gait problems are the most common causes of falls among nursing home residents. Environmental hazards, such wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, and improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs are also a cause of falls among residents. Medications often increase the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
Other causes of falls include difficulty in moving from one place to another (for example, from the bed to a chair), poor foot care, poorly fitting shoes, and improper or incorrect use of walking aids.

It is the duty of the nursing home to understand and consider these factors when developing individualized strategies to prevent the resident from falling or being dropped, in order to avoid nursing home abuse.

How can we prevent falls in nursing homes?

Fall prevention takes a combination of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and environmental changes. The most effective interventions address multiple factors. Interventions include:

1. Nursing home staff assessment of resident upon admission to evaluate the degree a resident is at risk for falling.

2. Nursing home staff assessment of resident after a fall to identify and address risk factors and treat the underlying medical conditions.

3. Educating nursing home staff and families about fall risk factors and prevention strategies.

4. Making changes in the nursing home environment to make it easier for residents to move around safely. Such changes include putting in grab bars, adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights, and installing handrails in the hallways.

5. Instituting toileting schedules so residents do not try to go to the bathroom without assistance.

6. Using devices such as alarms that go off when residents try to get out of bed or move without help.

Do physical restraints help prevent falls?

The biggest misconception for the public is that restraints lower the risk of falls or fall injuries. Restraints should not be used as a fall prevention strategy. Restraints can actually increase the risk of fall-related injuries and deaths. Limiting a resident’s freedom to move around leads to muscle weakness and reduces physical function.
Doctors are more likely to order the lowering of beds and the placement of soft mats around them to prevent injury from falls.

Nursing Home Abuse in NJ and PA: Mininno Law Office

The nursing home abuse attorneys at the Mininno Law Office are dedicated to fighting for those wronged by abusive and negligent treatment in the nation’s nursing homes.
If you or a loved one have been negatively affected by nursing home abuse or negligence, please contact the Mininno Law Office and get a free case evaluation. You can also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

We will fight to get you the settlement that you deserve.

What is a Nursing Home Care Plan?

A care plan is a document specific to each nursing home resident that identifies all of their medical issues, the treatments the staff is supposed to provide to treat those issues, and a list of goals to reflect the expected improvement their medical condition.
A federal law known as OBRA requires nursing homes to provide a multi-disciplinary team of care givers who are charged with ensuring that the nursing home resident receives the care and services needed to ensure that the resident reaches and maintains “the highest practicable degree of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

This team is primarily made up of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and dieticians (and essentially any other discipline involved in the resident’s care).
To deliver on the quality of care the resident and their family were promised by the nursing home, the team must develop a comprehensive care plan which provides a framework for the staff who are treating the resident on a day-to-day basis. To be effective and comprehensive, the care planning process must include the input of all caregivers that are involved in the care of the resident.

Care planning is an essential part of properly caring for a nursing home resident. A good care plan provides a ‘road map’ of sorts, to guide all who are involved with a resident’s care. A caregiver that was just hired, or is coming back to work from a vacation, can look at the care plan developed for a resident and know exactly what needs to be done to care for that resident.
A care plan is not a stagnant or stationary document. The care plan changes just as the resident’s condition changes. The care plan needs to be reviewed and updated by the caregivers, especially when there is a change in the resident’s condition.

What is a Care Plan Conference?

Care plans should be created at a care plan conference held at the nursing home. The resident, and their family members, should be involved in the conference. The nursing home should invite the resident, and their family members to attend the conference. If they don’t, the resident, and their family members should tell the nursing home Administrator that they would like to be present at the conference.
At the care plan conference, the resident’s medical issues are identified and the treatments that the staff is supposed to execute to care for the resident are set forth. Goals for improvement are set. Whether the resident’s health improves, or declines, the care plan needs to be adjusted to reflect the best way to treat the resident at that time.

It is important for the family to attend the care plan conferences because they can discuss what they know about the resident to ensure that the resident’s medical issues are properly identified. It is also important for the family to discuss and understand treatment strategies and goals with the caregivers.
Understanding a resident’s care plan will help the family understand what should be happening at the nursing home, and to bring it to the attention of the Administrator and resident’s physician if the family feels the care plan is not being followed. Not following the care plan can often lead to nursing home abuse, debilitating falls, and pressure ulcers for the resident.

Relevant Federal Statute concerning Care Plans

$483.20(d) (A facility must…) use the results of the assessment to develop, review and revise the resident’s comprehensive plan of care.

$483.20(k) Comprehensive Care Plans

The facility must develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident that includes measurable objectives and timetables to meet a resident’s medical, nursing, and mental and psychosocial needs that are identified in the comprehensive assessment. The care plan must describe the following:

(i) The services that are to be furnished to attain or maintain the resident’s highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being as required under $483.25; and

(ii) Any services that would otherwise be required under $483.25 but are not provided due to the resident’s exercise of rights under $483.10, including the right to refuse treatment under $483.10.

Nursing Home Neglect: Mininno Law Office

If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the Mininno Law Office immediately and get a free case evaluation. You could also call us toll-free at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let us work to get you the compensation you deserve.