Every year, there are about 36 million falls among older people in the U.S., according to the CDC. About 20 percent of those falls result in injury, and just under 10 percent result in death.
Not surprisingly, considering the elderly population, falls are a leading cause of injury in nursing homes. The average 100-bed nursing home reports between 100-200 falls a year. These falls are typically preventable, which means they often happen as a result of neglect. Many falls go unreported, however, and residents who suffer from falls may not receive medical attention if an injury is not immediately apparent. But if left untreated, an undetected injury can result in serious or long-term damage.
When you have entrusted an elderly loved one to the care of a nursing home, falls that result in injury can be a sign of neglect. If you suspect your loved one is not getting the care or treatment they need, our experienced nursing home fall attorneys in Illinois can help. Contact the Cullotta Bravo Law Firm today at 630-898-7800.
Common Injuries Resulting from Falls in Nursing Homes
Injuries resulting from falls are more common among the elderly, partly because their frailty makes them more prone to falling, and partly because their bodies and bones don’t have the same resistance and resilience as younger adults. Some of the most common injuries resulting from nursing home falls include:
- Hip fractures: Of all the bones that can be broken in a fall, the hip is most likely among older adults. About 95 percent of hip fractures result from falling.
- Head injuries: A fall can cause serious head injuries, ranging from concussions to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Shoulder fractures: The shoulder is another common site of fracture among older adults who fall.
- Neck injuries: Falls can also lead to neck injuries, including herniated discs and spinal cord damage.
- Soft tissue and internal injuries: Falls may cause lacerations, bruising, torn muscles and ligaments, and more. They can also cause internal bleeding and organ damage in certain cases.
What Causes Falls in Nursing Homes?
Falls don’t just happen. In most cases, there are underlying causes that contribute to the risk of falling, most of which are preventable. Some of the most common causes of falls in nursing homes include:
- Poor lighting: Poorly lit hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms can make it difficult for residents to see where they’re going, leading to trips and falls.
- Clutter and obstacles: Clutter in hallways, bedrooms, and other common areas can also contribute to falls. Loose cords, throw rugs, and other obstacles can trip residents or cause them to stumble and fall.
- Medication side effects: Many medications can cause side effects that increase the risk of falling. These include drowsiness, dizziness, and balance problems. Patients on medications who aren’t properly watched may fall as a result.
- Improper/insufficient monitoring of patients: This is especially true of patients with known mobility issues who may fall out of their bed or out of a wheelchair if no one is watching them.
Signs that Your Loved One’s Fall Injury Is Due to Nursing Home Neglect
While some injury falls among the elderly may truly be accidental and unavoidable, there is a high probability that your loved one’s fall-related injury resulted from neglect. Here are some telltale signs to look for:
- The nursing home gives vague or cryptic explanations for your loved one’s injuries. If the nursing home staff were negligent, they wouldn’t want to admit they allowed your loved one to experience a fall.
- Your loved one has known balance or mobility issues. Any fall is suspect in such cases because the nursing home staff knows your loved one needs closer monitoring.
- You notice insufficient monitoring of your loved one. If the staff members aren’t paying attention when you are there, they’re likely paying even less attention when you’re not there.
Call a Nursing Home Fall Attorney in Illinois
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, you may have legal recourse. The Cullotta Bravo Law Firm can help you understand your rights and options under the law. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 630-898-7800 today.