Falls in nursing homes happen far too often. In fact, between 50-75% of nursing home residents fall each year and, of these falls, approximately 10-20% result in serious injuries.
Since falls can result in devastating physical and psychological injuries for seniors, it’s of the utmost importance that nursing homes do all they can to prevent falls from happening. Below, our Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys discuss three ways nursing homes can prevent falls.
#1. Watch Residents Closely
Staff members should always keep a close eye on nursing home residents and accompany anyone who may be at risk of falling. Even a simple walk down the hallway can result in a serious injury if a resident were to trip on an obstruction or lose their balance. It’s nursing homes’ responsibility to prevent this from happening.
#2. Provide Residents with Mobility Assistance Devices
Nursing homes must remain well-stocked with mobility assistance devices for any residents who may need them, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and more. Nursing homes should also inspect this equipment regularly to ensure these devices are in proper working order for residents’ use.
#3. Review and Adjust the Medications That Residents Take
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimate that nearly 67% of Americans aged 65+ have taken three or more prescription drugs in the last 30 days.
This can greatly impede seniors’ ability to walk steadily and safely.
As such, it’s important for nursing homes to check up on residents regularly and ensure they are taking the lowest possible dose of needed medications. If nursing homes know that a particular drug makes residents more drowsy, then they should assign a staff member to watch over that resident until the side effects of the drug wear off.
Do Physical Restraints Prevent Nursing Home Falls?
Nursing homes made frequent use of physical restraints before and during the 1980s. That number has, however, dropped precipitously in recent decades to fewer than 10% of nursing homes using physical restraints.
While it may seem to make sense that physical restraints would prevent nursing home falls, they actually have the opposite effect. When seniors are restrained to a bed, they lose muscle strength from the lack of physical exercise and movement. This makes seniors more susceptible to falls when they do get out of their beds and restraints.
Since physical restraints started to be more strictly regulated and less frequently used, nursing homes have reported an overall decrease in injuries related to falls.
Did Your Loved One Fall in Their Nursing Home? We’re Here to Help
Although the measures that nursing homes should take to prevent falls are apparent, many facilities are slow to implement the necessary precautions. If your loved one keeps falling down in their nursing home and you feel they are unsafe there, our Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can help you identify liable parties and hold them accountable for their negligence.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation.