The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is challenging for most families. However, this decision becomes especially painful when a loved one gets hurt while under the care of nursing home staff. Nursing home falls are quite common in assisted living settings, which is why it is so important for residents and their families to know their rights after an injury.
Causes of Nursing Home Falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million older adults go to the emergency room every year for fall-related injuries. Not only do these injuries cause lasting pain for elderly residents, they are also costly to treat. Medical costs for falls added up to more than $50 billion in 2015.
Many factors contribute to nursing home falls in South Carolina. Older adults are at greater risk for falls than the rest of the population. This is due to their limited mobility and having a harder time maintaining their balance while ambulating. Other factors that often cause nursing home falls or worsen their severity include:
- Cluttered floors; nursing home residents may have a harder time avoiding obstacles due to the use of walkers or poor eyesight
- Lack of support railings and guides
- Wet floors
- Minimal or inconsistent lighting
- Sedative medications
- Understaffed shifts, which forces residents to ambulate on their own if a staff member is unavailable to help
- Weakness caused by malnutrition or dehydration
How Nursing Homes Protect Against Falls
Nursing homes should take every preventative measure possible to keep residents safe. Some of the safety measures used in nursing homes include:
- Making mobility aids, including walkers, wheelchairs, gait belts and staff assistance, available
- Handrails and grab bars in bathrooms, hallways and other areas of nursing homes
- Prompt removal of any clutter, items or moisture
- Extra surveillance for patients who are prone to ambulate when it is unsafe to do so
- Safe footwear for residents
What to Do If Someone You Love Is Hurt in a Nursing Home Fall
Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always implement the correct safety measures. Assisted living centers are chronically understaffed. Rather than doing whatever it takes to find and keep reliable staff, many facilities simply make staff members take on larger and larger patient loads. This puts every resident at serious risk of neglect.
If someone you love is hurt while in a nursing home’s care, then it is up to you to be their advocate. The nursing home may try to downplay the severity of the injury or avoid reporting it. Consider utilizing hidden cameras and consulting South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers who know what it takes to prove a facility’s negligence and hold them accountable for their mistreatment of elderly residents.
Help Your Loved One by Hiring Experienced South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
At the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr., our goal is to be a voice for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We will use all of our resources to seek justice for your loved one after a nursing home fall. Call our Rock Hill office now at (803) 324-7200 to schedule a free consultation.