Nursing Home Injuries- Facts about Falls
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year, an average nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls.
About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries. Those who experience non-fatal falls can suffer injuries, have difficulty getting around, and have a reduced quality of life.
Nursing Home Falls- Statistics from CDC
- In 2003, 1.5 million people 65 and older lived in nursing homes.
- As many as 3 out of 4 nursing home residents fall each year. That’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community.
- Patients often fall more than once. The average is 2.6 falls per person per year.
- About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk.
- About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.
- Falls result in disability, functional decline and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls
While elderly adults have an increased risk of falling due to ailing health, nursing home hazards and medications can be risk factors as well. Information provided by CDC.
- Muscle weakness and walking or gait problems are the most common causes of falls among nursing home residents. These problems account for about 24% of the falls in nursing homes.
- Environmental hazards in nursing homes cause 16% to 27% of falls among residents. Such hazards include wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, and improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs.
- Medications can increase the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Drugs that affect the central nervous system, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, are of particular concern.
- Poor foot care, poorly fitting shoes, and improper or incorrect use of walking aids.
According to CDC, “Fall prevention takes a combination of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and environmental changes. The most effective interventions address multiple factors.”
- Assessing patients after a fall to identify and address risk factors and treat the underlying medical conditions.
- Educating staff about fall risk factors and prevention strategies.
- Reviewing prescribed medicines to assess their potential risks and benefits and to minimize use.
- Making changes in the nursing home environment to make it easier for residents to move around safely. Ex: installing grab bars, adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights, and installing handrails in the hallways.
- Providing patients with hip pads that may prevent a hip fracture if a fall occurs.
- Using devices such as alarms that go off when patients try to get out of bed or move without help.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
If you believe your loved one has experienced an injury due to nursing home neglect, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. We have the knowledge and experience to handle your loved one’s case. We will also take immediate action to prevent any further mistreatment. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. Your choice does matter. Contact Thomas J. Henry for immediate assistance.