Nursing home fall accidents are very common, and due to the advanced age of nursing home residents, fall accidents tend to result in serious injuries. Broken hips and bones are very common, in addition to brain/head injuries and back injuries. Health conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes can limit treatment options.
Prevention is key, and preventing fall accidents among nursing home residents requires performing sufficient fall risk analyses for all residents. In addition, because circumstances change, it is important to conduct a fall risk analysis periodically, over a given resident’s life. A resident who was mentally alert and mobile when they first arrived at a nursing home may, in a year’s time, require additional assistance.
The following three factors should be reviewed carefully in conducting a fall risk analysis for a nursing home resident.
1. Medical Health & Related Issues. Each resident must be evaluated on an individual basis due to the wide range of medical health issues which affect nursing home residents. Does the resident suffer from any medical conditions which increase the likelihood of falling? Is the resident taking medications which affect mental clarity or balance?
2. Physical Needs. Aside from obvious physical issues which require use of a wheelchair, cane, or other assisted walking device, there may be other physical issues. Other physical issues such as ordinary muscle deterioration and weakness in the context of the individual must be considered, weighed and assessed. Placing a resident with known back and knee problems in a room where the bathroom is furthest away from the bed may lead to a fall accident.
3. Mental/Emotional Factors. This factor is especially important for residents with special needs based on mental or emotional issues/disability. Some residents may need help with basic personal hygiene. In addition, a long term resident home for severely disabled adults must consider each resident’s individual mental/emotional health issues and whether they affect the resident’s ability to function normally.
Related: Pennsylvania Nursing Home Fall Accident Scenario
Nursing Home Policies Re: Reporting Fall Accidents
One of the key aspects to maintaining the health and safety of nursing home residents is developing a clear policy about reporting fall accidents. Doing so can minimize injury and ensures that the injured resident obtains proper, timely medical care. This is one of the main problems in nursing home fall accident cases. Nursing home employees may fail to report a fall altogether, or employees may delay calling 911 or delay having the injured resident evaluated by a medical doctor.
In fact, in May, a nurse at a New York nursing home was arrested for failing to report that a resident she was bathing fell and injured his back. The nurse is alleged to have falsified records pertaining to the accident. According to an online news report, the nurse was giving the resident a bath when he fell on his low back. She falsified his records indicating that no fall had occurred. According to the same report, the incident occurred within several months after the nurse was hired. Source: northcountrygazette.org, AG: Nursing Home Nurse Endangered Patient
In situations when a nursing home employee fails to report that a resident had a fall accident, the most probable explanation is a lack of training about the nursing home’s reporting policies and procedures. All nursing home employees, including nursing assistants, must be trained on the steps to take after a resident falls. In addition, employees must be made aware of the consequences of failing to report a fall accident.
Related: Fall Accidents in Nursing Homes in Pennsylvania & New Jersey – Is the Nursing Home Liable?
PA Nursing Home Accident Lawyer
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