Nursing Home Accidents – Slip and Fall Lawsuit Attorney – Today’s guest blog is by Pacific Attorney Group PLC. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Attorney Mark E. Hall.
Nursing Home Accidents – Slip and Fall Lawsuits
Nursing homes play an important function in society; they provide care and attention to elderly people and help them out in running their everyday errands such as cleaning, cooking or shopping. Nursing homes even look after those elderly who cannot take care of themselves and need help with bathing, medication or feeding, as well as the need for around the clock care.
Despite this, unfortunately, there are some nursing homes that are negligent. Slip and fall accidents in nursing homes have become a serious national issue in the US. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated nearly 1,800 elderly die every year in fall-related injuries. Moreover, it also states that 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries which lead to disability or reduction in the quality of life of the elderly.
The factors which contribute to these accidents:
- Environmental Hazard:
Nearly 16% to 27% of slip and fall accidents in nursing homes are due to environmental hazards. These hazards include improper bed rails, wet floors, poor lighting, improperly maintained equipment such as wheelchairs, etc.
Many of the elderly in a nursing home are given medications that affect their central nervous systems such as tranquilizers, sedatives or antipsychotics. These medications make patients lose balance, steady gait or confusion which consequently cause slip and fall accidents.
- Insufficient Staffing:
Inadequate staffing in a nursing home is also alarming. In many of these care facilities, a group of 30 or more residents is attended to by only one nurse. This factor becomes more critical at night and may cause various problems for the patients when they need someone to help and no one is available to assist them.
- Health Condition of the Patient:
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are very common in elderly people. These diseases cause them to move unsteadily which often results in falls. In addition, other health conditions such as orthostatic hypotension cause the elderly to become faint or weak when they suddenly try to stand up. Improper use of walking aids or difficulty in moving from one place to another also causes falls.
- Lack of Fall Prevention Plan:
Unfortunately, many nursing homes don’t execute a fall prevention plan. Such plans include the installation of bed and chair alarms, improved lighting, fall mats, keeping rooms and hallways clean and free of unnecessary objects, keeping the floor dry or place caution, assessments of medications and increase the number of staff as well as their proper training. When a nursing home lacks in implementing a fall prevention plan or shows negligence in observing the already existing plan, the plaintiff should hire a law firm such as the Pacific Attorney Group to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the entity.
Who is Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents?
When the nursing home fails to adhere to the fall prevention plan and procedure, the negligence claim against the care facility becomes necessary to file. It is the legal responsibility of the staff to take care of every patient and execute the care plans that minimize the risk of fall accidents.