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Falls can be a sign of nursing home neglect

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

Falls are a common concern for elderly individuals, and even more so for those residing in nursing homes. While age and frailty can contribute to falls, they aren’t always inevitable. In some cases, frequent falls might indicate neglect in nursing homes.

Why falling is a significant concern

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among seniors. More than one out of four Americans 65 and older fall each year. Because of weaker bones and reduced mobility, falls can result in hip fractures, head injuries and other serious complications. These can significantly impact a resident’s quality of life and independence.

Falls and potential neglect

While some falls may be unavoidable, certain factors under the nursing home’s control can contribute to falls and might suggest neglect:

  • Understaffing: If there aren’t enough staff members to properly assist residents with daily activities like walking or using the restroom, the risk of falls increases.
  • Medication management: Certain medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, increasing fall risk. Proper monitoring and medication management are crucial.
  • Unsafe environment: Uneven flooring, poor lighting, or cluttered walkways can all be tripping hazards. The nursing home has a responsibility to ensure a safe environment.
  • Lack of individualized care plans: Residents’ needs and mobility levels vary. A plan that doesn’t address a resident’s specific fall risk factors could be a red flag.

If your loved one experiences frequent falls, especially if they seem unexplained, it can be a cause for concern. Be aware of any bruises, cuts or other injuries that may indicate a fall. A sudden change in mobility could also indicate a recent fall or fear of falling.

If you suspect neglect, discuss your concerns with the nursing home staff and document everything. Contact your loved one’s doctor for a medical consultation. You may also want to consider seeking legal counsel who may advocate for you and your loved one’s rights and safety.

Falls are serious but can be prevented with proper care and attention. By being aware of the signs and protecting your loved one, you can help ensure they are out of harm’s way and properly cared for in a nursing home.