Falls are common among senior citizens, many of whom suffer from age-related conditions such as weakening muscles, impaired balance and mobility, and varying degrees of dementia. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a responsibility to ensure proper safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of nursing homes results in thousands of fall-related injuries and deaths each year.
For those residing in Illinois nursing homes, fall accidents are especially dangerous. Statistics show that up to 75 percent of nursing home residents fall each year – twice the rate of older adults who fall while living in the general community. Even minor stumbles can result in serious fall-related injuries for frail nursing home patients. About 1,800 nursing home residents die each year from injuries sustained in falls, according to the CDC. Those who survive frequently suffer major injuries such as hip fractures and head trauma, which can leave to permanent disability and a significantly diminished quality of life. Residents with a history of falling may live in fear of having another accident, contributing to depression, anxiety and feelings of helplessness and social isolation.
Common causes of slips and falls
When someone you love has been seriously injured in a fall at a nursing home, it’s only natural to wonder if something could have been done to prevent the accident from occurring. All too often, falls occur because nursing homes fail to take reasonable steps to prevent them. Oversights and improper care that result in fall-related injuries may include:
- Unmarked wet or slippery floors
- Dim or inadequate lighting
- Tripping hazards in rooms and hallways
- Lack of appropriate bedrails and handrails
- Failure to modify beds and toilet seats
- Failure to assist patients who need help walking
- Malfunctioning call buttons
- Insufficient or improperly trained staff
- Lack of supervision
- Failure to monitor a resident’s reaction to medication
Nursing homes may attempt to excuse falls as an inevitable part of aging. While it is true that accidents happen, there is no excuse for carelessness that allows for the preventable injury or death of a resident. Families of the elderly trust the staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to provide assistance and protection to their loved ones. These facilities have an obligation to assess individual fall risk and develop and implement proper fall protection plans, including the use of modifications, alarms, and assistive devices. When a nursing home recognizes a patient is at risk for falling but fails to take appropriate action, they can and should be held accountable for negligence.
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home who has been seriously or repeatedly injured in falls, it’s important to know your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for costs such as medical bills, disability, and pain and suffering in a nursing home abuse lawsuit. At Phillips Law Offices, our legal team has been assisting victims of nursing home abuse and their families for over 65 years. Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys possess the expertise and experience necessary to navigate complex nursing home abuse laws, prove negligence, recover damages and restore the dignity your loved one deserves. We’re committed to finding justice for injured people and holding accountable those responsible for harm suffered.
If you believe someone you love has been the victim of nursing home negligence, our wrongful death lawyers may be able to help. Contact Phillips Law Offices today at (312) 346-4262 or online to discuss your case with a qualified Chicago wrongful death attorney.