Older adults are more prone to falling than younger adults because many do not have the strength and balance to safely climb stairs and navigate indoor and outdoor terrain. When an individual’s physical or mental condition makes it impossible for him or her to safely live without supervision, the individual’s family may choose to move him or her into a nursing home.
Although nursing homes often take a considerable amount of care to protect their residents from falling, falls happen in nursing homes every day. When a resident falls, he or she can be injured and potentially suffer permanent complications. When an injury is due to a fall that could have been prevented, the facility may be liable for the victim’s related damages. Victims and their loved ones can seek compensation for these damages through nursing home neglect claims.
WHAT CAUSES FALLS IN NURSING HOMES?
Individuals in nursing homes often lack the strength, balance, and vision to safely walk unassisted. With this in mind, many nursing homes are designed for residents’ safety and feature non-skid flooring, secure handrails in hallways and bathrooms, bright lighting throughout the facility, and frequent supervision by staff members. When a nursing home does not provide all the safety features necessary to protect residents from falling and being injured, the nursing home’s management may be deemed negligent and liable for any damages victims suffer in accidents related to the negligence.
A few specific examples of hazards and acts of negligence that can cause a nursing home resident to fall include:
- Wet, slippery floors;
- Uneven floor surfaces;
- Debris on the floor that creates a tripping hazard;
- Failure on the staff’s part to accurately evaluate each resident’s ability to walk unassisted;
- Failure on the staff’s part to inform a resident or his or her family of how medication can affect his or her ability to walk;
- Broken steps;
- Broken and loose handrails;
- Unsecured carpeting and wires; and
- Staff’s failure to supervise residents appropriately.
When a nursing home provides less protection and staff supervision to its residents than the residents need, the facility may be cited for neglect. Neglect is a type of mistreatment that is distinct from abuse because instead of occurring out of malice or personal gain, it occurs when there are not enough resources to provide adequate care. Like other types of mistreatment, nursing home neglect can have a severe, negative impact on residents’ physical and mental health.
HOW CAN A NURSING HOME RESIDENT BE INJURED IN A FALL?