Nursing Home Falls: Do You Have a Case For Recovery?
Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury. This represents 29 million falls, 3 million emergency department (ED) visits, 800,000 hospitalizations, and 28,000 deaths. Fall prevention should be a routine part of all clinical care, especially in skilled medical facilities like nursing homes that provide round-the-clock care for their residents.
Too often, however, negligence on the part of facilities and caregivers results in preventable injuries and deaths.
Nursing Homes and Their Duty to Prevent Falls
Nursing home residents are entitled to the level of care and safety appropriate to their needs, and nursing homes have a duty to provide an environment of safety for their residents. This includes providing an environment that keeps them safe from potential falls.
Of course, not all falls result from negligence, just as not all nursing home injuries are the result of nursing home abuse. But when a nursing home’s negligence does result in a resident’s fall, and that fall results in injury, then the resident and sometimes his or her relatives are entitled to pursue legal recourse for damages.
Factors Contributing to Negligence in Nursing Home Falls
When a patient falls in a nursing home, there are a number of questions an experienced Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer will ask when assessing whether the nursing home might have been negligent.
Was the nursing home properly staffed?
When a nursing home is understaffed, it is hard for the nurses and attendants to do all that they should for every resident. If the person who fell was considered a fall risk patient, it is even more essential that staffing levels be adequate to follow fall prevention protocols. Failure to properly staff a facility and monitor residents known to be at risk of falling can be an indication of nursing home negligence.
How well were caregivers trained?
What type of training in fall prevention did the nursing home caregivers receive? Did they know the proper procedures for transferring residents? If the resident needed to be transferred from a wheelchair to a toilet or shower stall and the nursing home staff was not careful during this process, this could have caused the resident’s fall.
Were there hazards that the nursing home knew about or should have known about?
Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for residents. If there was a known hazard — like a wet floor or faulty handrails — that the facility knew about and failed to correct, it could be found negligent.
Did the facility provide faulty medical equipment to the resident?
If faulty equipment — like broken walkers or wheelchairs — caused a fall, the nursing home could be found liable, as could the equipment manufacturer under a product liability claim.
Is there any indication that there were errors in administration of medication?
Failure to properly administer a patient’s medication could also have contributed to a nursing home fall. Proving the wrong medication or providing the right medication incorrectly could cause patients to fall.
Colorado Springs Personal Injury Lawyers at Levine Law Can Help
It is not easy to know whether and to what extent the nursing home should be held responsible when a fall occurs. If you or a loved one are injured in a nursing home fall, call the attorneys at Levine Law at 719-471-3000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.