Columbus Nursing Home Falls Attorneys
Unfortunately, the nursing home neglect attorneys here at Rinehardt Law Firm see nursing home falls all too often, and most of the time, patients fall and sustain serious injury due to the negligence of the care facility’s staff. Falls in nursing homes and other care facilities are entirely preventable if a nursing home is willing to spend the necessary time and money to sustain an adequate staff. An incredible number of patients die each year in nursing homes due to injuries sustained in preventable falls.
Nursing home falls are common and sometimes deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1,800 adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries, such as broken bones or head trauma. Falling is often an indicator of other types of health conditions. Some of the most common causes of falls in the nursing home include the following: muscle weakness and gait problems (accounting for around 24 percent of falls in nursing homes), environmental hazards—such as equipment left in hallways or rooms—accounts for around 26-27 percent of falls, hazards such as poor lighting, wet floors, broken wheelchairs, and inappropriate beds (that are set too high or too low). Often, residents on medications such as anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives are at a higher risk for fall-related injuries due to the effect of these medications on the nervous system (the risk of falls is elevated within only three days of taking any of these types of medications). All of these risk-factors taken into consideration, it is the sole responsibility of the nursing home staff to ensure that your loved one is continuously safe and healthy by identifying, assessing, and responding to these risks in order to minimize the chance of a fall. If a nursing home’s staff does not do their job and a resident is injured in a fall, the attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm will hold the nursing home accountable for any harm that results from negligence.
Nursing Home Fall Statistics
There are more than 1.4 million Americans aged 65 years and older who reside in nursing homes, and this number is expected to double in the next 12-15 years. Falls in nursing homes occur nearly twice as often than among elderly people living independently. Nursing homes with 100 beds often report up to 200 falls per year, and many falls go unreported. The average nursing home resident falls 2.6 times per year. In fact, falls account for over 80 percent of preventable nursing home deaths, followed by choking and suicide. However, falls in nursing homes are absolutely preventable by taking proper steps to educate and train nursing staff, as well as improving the nursing home environment.
If a resident falls and is seriously injured in a nursing home, the nursing home can be held responsible if the fall occurred because the staff:
- Is unqualified or insufficiently trained
- Dropped, pushed, or rolled the resident out of bed
- Abandoned the resident in a situation in which the resident should not have been left alone (for example, climbing out of bed or walking down stairs)
- Failed to provide care in accordance with the resident’s individual care plan
- Failed to provide adequate assistance
- Failed to develop an adequate care plan based on the resident’s individual needs
Federal nursing home regulations require nursing homes to provide every resident with an assessment done when the resident enters the facility, and regularly updated thereafter. This assessment must include a written plan of care, which is a full evaluation of the resident’s needs—this must also include the resident’s fall risk. Every nursing home that accepts Medicare payments must follow specific Federal Regulations regarding caring for nursing home residents, 42 CFR sec. 483 et seq. Under these regulations, facilities are required to “ensure that . . . [t]he resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as possible; and [e]ach resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.” Just like any landowner, nursing homes are liable for a resident’s fall on the property under an area of law called premises liability as well as medical negligence liability. If a nursing home fails to comply with these or any other regulations, and a resident is injured, the nursing home is directly responsible for any harm that results; the Columbus nursing home fall lawyers of the Rinehardt Law Firm will work closely with your family to ensure that you receive rightful compensation.
Rinehardt Law Firm is the answer to your personal injury. Our team of attorneys and case managers have represented clients in in Columbus and throughout central and north central Ohio for years. We treat every new client as if they were part of our family by providing clear communication, building a strong relationship, and using our experience to provide legal guidance that’s in their best interests. We offer free consultations with no obligation, so don’t hesitate to contact our team about your legal matter.