Chicago, IL Nursing Home Falls and Fractures Lawyer
While all individuals age 65 and older are at increased risk for suffering serious injuries in a fall, a disproportionate amount of fall-related injuries among the elderly occur in nursing homes. Elderly individuals and their family members rely on nursing homes to provide safe living environments, so why is this the case?
Part of the reason may be that individuals living in nursing homes tend to be older, more frail, and less able to care for themselves. However, studies and litigation have shown that nursing homes regularly fail to provide appropriate care and safe facilities for their residents. These problems often lead nursing home residents to suffer injuries in falls that could – and should – be avoided.
The Truth about Nursing Home Falls and Fractures
The statistics on nursing home falls are sobering:
- While just five percent of Americans age 65 or older live in nursing homes, 20 percent of all fall-related deaths occur in nursing homes.
- As many as 75 percent of nursing home patients fall each year, and those who suffer falls typically suffer more than one.
- As many as 20 percent of nursing home falls result in serious injuries.
- The average nursing home reports one to two falls per year for each bed in its facility; however, many more nursing home falls go unreported.
In many cases, these falls are a direct result of nursing home negligence.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls
Nursing homes have a duty to provide their residents with living environments that are reasonably safe from hazards that can lead to falls and fractures. Unfortunately, whether through staffing issues, poor facility maintenance, inadequate patient care, or other causes, nursing homes often put their residents at serious risk of suffering injuries in a fall. Some of the common causes of avoidable falls and fractures in nursing homes include:
- Inadequate lighting in hallways and stairwells
- Inadequate staff to properly monitor and care for patients
- Incorrect bed height
- Lack of access to walking aids
- Lack of supervision after taking medications with dangerous side effects
- Malnutrition and other conditions leading to muscle weakness or disorientation
- Medical equipment and other items obstructing hallways
- Missing or broken handrails
- Unreasonable physical restraints
- Wet floors
One of the issues that most frequently leads to falls and fractures is inattentive care. Many elderly nursing home residents require assistance for their mobility and performing basic tasks. Sadly, residents often find themselves alone and without assistance. In some cases, due to their medical condition or a side effect of their prescription medications, they may not be fully aware of their need for help. At Malman Law, our Chicago attorneys can help you seek compensation if you suffered a fall while:
- Attempting to get out of bed
- Getting into or out of a wheelchair
- Going to the bathroom
- Leaving your room to visit another area of the nursing home or leave the facility
- Moving around your room – for example, to get food or medications
If you need assistance getting around or caring for yourself, the staff and administrators at your nursing home are responsible for providing the help you need. If you have fallen because no one was available to help you or you were placed in an unsafe environment, we can help you seek just compensation.
Restraints are Not a Proper Measure for Preventing Falls and Fractures
Although use of physical restraints in nursing homes has dropped significantly since the 1980s, as many as 10 percent of nursing homes still physically restrain their residents. While this was once seen as a proper measure for preventing falls, it is now widely understood to put patients at greater risk for suffering serious fall-related injuries.
The website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plainly states: “They [physical restraints] should not be used as a fall prevention strategy. Restraints can actually increase the risk of fall-related injuries and deaths.”
In fact, since new regulations on physical restraints took effect, most nursing homes have seen significant reductions in their numbers of falls. This is due in large part to the fact that patients often suffer loss of muscle mass and impaired physical functioning due to being restrained.
Contact Malman Law about Your Nursing Home Fall
At Malman Law, we fight for the rights of elderly individuals and their families who are suffering due to nursing home falls. If you believe that you or a loved one may be a victim of nursing home negligence, our experienced attorneys can help you win the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation and take advantage of our zero-fee guarantee, call our Chicago law offices at (888) 625-6265 or contact us online today.