Peoria Nursing Home Falls Attorney
Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable for Resident Falls
Nursing homes can provide essential care for elderly people or others who can benefit by living in a facility where staff members can attend to their medical and personal needs. Unfortunately, nursing home residents may face a variety of risks that could affect their health and well-being, and they may experience serious injuries due to nursing home neglect. Falls are among the most common injuries that affect nursing home residents, and they can result in serious, long-term health consequences for elderly or disabled patients. These incidents often occur because nursing homes fail to provide adequate care or supervision for their patients or fail to address safety issues that put patients at risk of being injured.
Families who have loved ones living in nursing homes should be aware of the risks associated with nursing home falls and the forms of negligence that may lead to serious injuries. In situations where a loved one has suffered an injury, families may be unsure about where to turn for help, how to determine whether their loved one experienced neglect, and what types of compensation may be available. With the help of a nursing home injury attorney, families can take steps to address these issues correctly and make sure a negligent facility is held responsible for the harm suffered by their loved one. At the Nursing Home Injury Center, we work with families to help them determine the best ways to proceed in situations where a loved one in a nursing home has been injured or killed due to a fall.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls
Elderly people or those who suffer from disabilities can sometimes struggle with mobility issues. Being able to get into and out of bed, walk through the hallways of a nursing home, and engage in regular activities can be difficult without assistance. Unfortunately, this means that nursing home residents are at risk of falls that could result in serious injuries.
Nursing home falls may occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Failure to provide adequate supervision – Nursing home staff members should attend to residents’ needs at all times. This includes monitoring patients as they move about a nursing home and assisting them when necessary. Staff members should also be aware of residents’ physical limitations, and if a person is experiencing medical issues or other physical concerns, the proper measures should be taken to ensure that they can minimize the risk of injury. If a nursing home is understaffed, residents may not receive the proper supervision, and they may be at a higher risk of fall injuries.
- Wandering and elopement – A lack of supervision may lead patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to wander into areas of a nursing home that are unsafe, such as parts of a building that are under construction. In some cases, residents may even leave the premises of a nursing home, and this elopement may put them at risk of fall injuries due to issues such as cracked or damaged sidewalks, potholes in roads or parking lots, or other unsafe walking areas. In these situations, a nursing home may be responsible for injuries that occurred because a facility was understaffed or because staff members failed to implement the proper security measures.
- Failing to address safety issues – Nursing homes should take steps to identify potential fall risks in the environment and address any issues that could put residents in danger of being injured. This includes providing adequate lighting, ensuring carpets and rugs are free from tears or wrinkles, cleaning up spills or taking other measures to address wet or slippery floors, clearing hallways or other walking areas of obstacles, and making sure furniture is arranged so residents can move around safely. If nursing homes fail to address these issues, patients may experience unreasonable risks, and a person may be seriously hurt in a fall.
- Neglecting medical needs – In some cases, nursing home falls are the result of inadequate or incorrect medical care. If nursing home staff members do not properly monitor and attend to a patient’s health needs, a person may experience a serious medical condition that increases their risk of falls. Nursing homes should also provide residents with proper medications and treatment to address existing medical conditions (such as vertigo or diabetes) that could make falls more likely. If nursing home staff members are negligent in providing adequate care, a resident’s condition may worsen, increasing the chances that they may suffer serious injuries in a fall.
- Failure to help residents with mobility needs – Nursing home staff should be aware of residents’ mobility limitations and provide assistance as needed. This may include helping a person get into and out of bed, providing guidance to ensure that a person can safely walk around the nursing home or engage in other activities, and assistance with using the restroom, bathing, or physical activities. Neglect by nursing home staff members may lead patients to attempt movements or activities that they struggle to perform without assistance, leading to dangerous fall injuries.
- Other forms of neglect – If staff members fail to properly attend to residents’ needs, a person may experience physical health issues that increase the risks of a fall injury. For example, if a person’s diet and eating habits are not monitored correctly, they may experience issues such as malnutrition or dehydration. These conditions can lead to issues such as dizziness or muscle weakness, affecting a person’s ability to move about safely and potentially leading to situations where dangerous falls may occur.
In many cases, nursing home fall injuries occur due to a combination of different forms of negligence. Lack of proper medical care may affect a person’s ability to move about safely, and when this is coupled with a lack of supervision, a person may not receive the assistance they need. This may result in fall injuries when a person is getting into or out of bed, standing up or sitting down, or walking in their room or in the hallways or common areas of a facility.
Types of Injuries That Patients Can Experience in Nursing Home Falls
Many nursing home residents are in frail physical condition, and they may experience multiple different types of bodily harm in a fall accident. These injuries may include:
- Broken bones – Elderly patients who suffer from osteoporosis or similar issues may have brittle bones that are susceptible to fractures. Broken hips are common in falls, and bones may also be fractured in the arms, wrists, legs, or ribs.
- Traumatic brain injuries – A person who hits their head on the ground or on other objects during a fall may experience a loss of consciousness and other short-term and long-term symptoms. Moderate or severe brain injuries can have a drastic effect on a person’s overall health and well-being.
- Back and spinal cord injuries – The jolt that a person experiences to their body in a fall may damage the vertebrae in the spine, the nerves in the spinal cord, or the muscles in the back. Serious spine injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis in different parts of the body. However, other, less-serious injuries can also lead to chronic pain, mobility issues, and other concerns that may affect elderly patients for an extended period of time or even for the rest of their lives.
- Bruises and lacerations – The bruising an elderly person experiences in a fall can be significant, resulting in a great deal of pain and taking a long time to heal. A fall accident may also result in severe cuts and lacerations, which may lead to infections or other serious health issues.
- Internal organ damage – Depending on the severity of the impact a person receives to different parts of their body in a fall, multiple organs may be injured, including the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, or intestines. These injuries can be life-threatening, and they can have a long-term impact on a person’s overall health.
In many cases, elderly nursing home residents may experience complications as they work to recover from fall injuries. Even if the initial injury was not severe, it may restrict a person’s mobility, or it may affect their ability to eat and drink. Issues such as infections, medication errors, malnutrition, or dehydration can occur if a person is not provided with the proper care while recovering from an injury, and their overall condition may worsen significantly.
Addressing Nursing Home Fall Injuries
If a loved one has been injured in a nursing home fall, a family’s first priority will be to ensure that the person can receive the proper care. This is not always easy, especially if the nursing home is not located near other family members or if nursing home staff members are uncommunicative about the resident’s status and the types of treatment they are receiving. As a family takes steps to protect their loved one’s health and safety, they will also be looking to determine who was responsible for the incident that led to the injury.
At the Nursing Home Injury Center, we work with families to help them address these issues. We can help ensure that a loved one is receiving the proper care and that a family understands the resources that are available to them. We can also investigate the circumstances surrounding an accident and identify any forms of negligence by a nursing home or its staff members that put a person at risk. Our goal is to help families move forward as they deal with nursing home injuries, while also ensuring that the owners of a facility are held responsible for negligence that caused a person to suffer harm.
To schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist with nursing home falls or other related injuries, contact us today at 309-524-6900. We provide legal help with nursing home injuries throughout central and southern Illinois, including LaSalle County, Kankakee County, Livingston County, McLean County, Peoria County, Macon County, Sangamon County, and Champaign County.