As we age, we all are more susceptible to falls. Because of age, these falls can become deadly. Nursing homes know this, and their rules require them to take specific fall precautions in order to protect you or your family member’s life.
Nursing homes defend these cases and say that the fall simply “was not foreseeable.” Bunk! Falls in nursing homes are the number one cause of injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture. 1 Nearly 50% of the people residing in Nursing homes will have at least one fall. Once you have fallen, your risk of falling again doubles. 2
Nursing homes know this. If you have a loved one that has fallen in a nursing home, you need to know that if a person has no history of prior falls, the nursing home facility will likely have a valid notice defense, meaning they were not aware your relative was a fall risk. However, if your relative has had a documented prior fall, especially in that nursing facility, your family member should not have ever had another fall. Many people who fall have head and brain injuries. Many of our elderly are taking Heparin (Fragmin, Innohep, and Lovenox) or Coumadin (Warfarin / Jantoven), Xarelto, Eliquis / Apixaban, Pradaxa / Dabigatran, Edoxaban / Savaysa, and Fondaparinux / Aristra.
Nursing homes are on high alert that anyone taking blood thinners who have a prior fall history need to be handled with extreme care. You cannot take any remote chances that will place them at risk of falling. Nursing homes are supposed to have systems in place to prevent their residents from falling when they already have a fall history.
Here are the Excuses we hear when we hold them accountable:
- The home was understaffed (this is an admission, and not a valid excuse. Usually management is too cheap to hire an attractive wage to get enough staff.)
- The resident had dementia. It is difficult for them to articulate their symptoms. They are captive, and cannot defend themselves.
- They are just too weak physically. Yes, they often are. This is because their caregivers are forced to feed them non-national food. And do not let the weight of a resident fool you. Many patients we have helped suffered from SIRS – “Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.” You can have a person who is essentially obese but mal-nourished. They are getting fed poor nutritional food, even if too much of it. They get the cheap stuff, when they need the food fully loaded with nutrients so that their skin and body can heal (i.e. pressure sores) If you feed a resident bad food, they are not likely to have a good outcome.
If your loved one has faced neglect in a nursing home or nursing home abuse, call us today for a free evaluation of their case.
- O’Loughlin J et al. Incidence of and risk factors for falls and injurious falls among the community-dwelling elderly. American journal of epidemiology, 1993, 137:342-54.