Resident Falls in Kentucky Nursing Homes
Louisville Nursing Home Abuse and Malpractice AttorneyFalls and the injuries resulting from them threaten many Kentucky nursing home residents. Clinical research has shown that elderly nursing home residents fall more often than other elderly adults who live within the community. In fact, almost half of elderly people living in nursing homes age 65 and older fall annually, and 10 – 15% of those victims are injured as a result of falling. What’s more, over 5% of elderly residents who fall while living in American nursing homes sustain fractures. In total, approximately 1,800 elderly nursing home residents die every year due to the injuries they suffer in falls. Unfortunately, many nursing home staff members do not live up to their legal and moral obligations, and fail to report resident falls.
Falls do not only cause physical injuries to elderly nursing home residents. Older nursing home residents may suffer the following problems after falling:
- Decreased mental and physical functioning;
- Decreased quality of life or confidence;
- Isolation; and
- An increased fear of falling in the future.
Reasons Why Kentucky Nursing Home Residents FallElderly nursing home residents fall for a variety of reasons, including overall weakness, debilitation, underlying medical conditions, and gait problems. However, many nursing home falls are preventable. Examples of falls resulting from nursing home negligence may include:
- Wet or cluttered floors;
- Inadequate lighting;
- Failing to use bedrails when clinically indicated;
- Improper bed height;
- Poorly fitted or maintained wheelchairs and assistive devices;
- Failing to use gait belts;
- Failing to use bed or chair alarms;
- Failing to have an adequate number of staff members to assist residents with ambulation;
- Inadequate supervision of elderly residents;
- Improper use of psychotropic medications;
- Improper use of physical restraints; and
- Inadequate physical and fall risk assessments.
Evaluating Kentucky Nursing Home Fall ClaimsSimply because an elderly resident falls while living in a nursing home does not automatically mean that there has been negligence or abuse. To properly and thoroughly evaluate a nursing home fall claim, an attorney must determine:
- The number of falls that have occurred, and how soon after admission they occurred;
- Whether anyone, including nursing home staff or family members, witnessed the fall;
- Did the nursing home staff document that the fall occurred;
- The extent of the physical injuries resulting from a fall;
- Did the nursing home staff assess the resident’s risk for falling upon admission;
- What preventative measures did the nursing home institute to reduce the resident’s fall risk;
- Did the nursing home staff members follow the resident’s care plan, so as to reduce the risk of falling; and
- Was the resident taking any psychoactive or other medications that may have negatively affected the resident’s ability to ambulate, or could have caused confusion.