Falls occur frequently in nursing homes. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 100-200 falls every year are reported by nursing home facilities with 100 beds. Additionally, the CDC suggests that between 1/2 and 3/4 of nursing home patients fall annually. Since elderly and ill individuals can be easily hurt by a slip and fall accident, it’s important to note when a nursing home may be held liable. Here’s what you should know.
Why People in Nursing Homes Fall
Slip and fall accidents are prevalent in nursing homes for a variety of reasons. Often, the patient’s health or injury status plays a significant role. For example, individuals may be taking medications that cause imbalance or dizziness, they may have lost some of their general ability to be mobile, or they may have conditions like dementia or macular degeneration, which causes reduced central vision.
While it may be argued that these conditions causing a fall are the “patient’s fault,” this is simply not true. Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide things like handrails, mobility aids such as walkers or canes, and beds, toilets, etc. at a safe height.
When Falls Are Due to Nursing Home Negligence
Many patient falls in nursing homes can be attributed to negligence on the part of the actual facility and/or its staff. Examples of negligence that can lead to a slip and fall include but are not limited to:
- Failure to come up with a care plan for each patient that takes their unique mobility issues into account
- Failure to change the care plan when the patient’s needs change
- Failure to provide the care outlined in the care plan
- Failure to adequately staff nursing homes with caretakers to provide a safe nurse-to-patient ratio
- Failure to adequately train staff within the nursing home on how to prevent falls and properly care for patients
- Failure to use proper care techniques that are designed to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents
- Failure to keep facility free of hazards that can cause a fall, like spilled liquids on the floor, poor lighting, and torn carpeting or broken tiles
When to Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered a slip and fall accident in a nursing home that caused injury, you may be eligible for compensation for the damages you incurred. At the Sarkisian Law Offices, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case by calling (219) 942-7171 or (219) 477-3998.