How Common Are Falls for Seniors?
- One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
Given these startling numbers, it’s important for nursing homes to implement adequate safety measures in order to prevent falls from happening.
Sadly, however, many nursing homes fail in this responsibility and seniors continue to get injured because of it. Below, our Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys discuss the factors that contribute to the prevalence of these falling injuries.
#1. Residents Have Physical and Mental Limitations
Falls are more common in nursing homes than in other environments because often, the seniors living in nursing homes are typically frailer than those living in other settings. In most cases, seniors’ families have decided to enroll them in a nursing home because the senior has reached the point in their health that their family cannot adequately care for them on their own.
In addition to more physical limitations, nursing home residents also commonly suffer from mental incapacities that make it difficult for them to navigate the facility on their own.
FACT: Muscle weakness and gait problems account for approximately 24% of falls in nursing homes.
#2. Nursing Homes Contain Environmental Hazards
While slip and fall hazards pose risks to everyone, they are particularly dangerous in nursing homes. When nursing home staff does not frequently sweep the hallways and move any hazardous objects out of the walkway, seniors may trip and fall.
FACT: Environmental hazards including hallway obstructions, poor lighting, wet floors, and more account for approximately 16-27% of falls in nursing homes
#3. Residents Take Several Medications
As we age, we often require more medications to keep our bodies running smoothly. While these medications have many benefits for seniors, they can also contribute to an increased risk of falls.
As such, it’s important for nursing homes to perform regular evaluations on the medications that residents are taking, make sure residents are taking the lowest possible dose of the medications, and remove any medications that residents no longer need.
FACT: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), nearly 67% of Americans aged 65+ report taking three or more prescription drugs in the last 30 days.
What to Do if Your Loved One Keeps Falling Down in Their Nursing Home
If your loved one has suffered multiple falls in their nursing home, it’s important to take the matter seriously and understand why this is happening. Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide adequate care and attention to their residents and, if they fail in this duty, they must be held accountable.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation.