Falling is a common problem for nursing home residents in North Carolina and around the country. Compared to older adults who are living in the community, nursing home residents fall twice as often. The high rate of falls in nursing homes is partially due to the fact that nursing home residents have more health problems than older adults who are living outside of nursing homes. Falls can also be caused by environmental hazards in nursing homes such as wet floors and poor lighting.
When a nursing home resident falls, the accident can be very serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1,800 nursing home deaths are attributed to fall-related injuries every year. Adults who survive these falls often sustain serious injuries that leave them permanently disabled.
Fall-related injuries can be prevented if nursing home staff take safety precautions. Nursing home staff should assess each patient's risk of falling and address any risk factors. Changes in the environment can be made to prevent falls, and patients can be taught strategies for avoiding hazards. Some patients may be equipped with hip pads that could provide a cushion in case of a fall. Because certain medications can increase a patient's risk of falling, nursing home staff should use caution when prescribing them.
If a nursing home resident is injured in a fall, nursing home staff may be responsible for the accident. In many cases, nursing home negligence is found to be the cause of fall-related injuries. An attorney may be able to help the family of an injured nursing home resident to file a personal injury claim against the facility and the negligent staff members.