Falls can be dangerous for anyone, regardless of health or age. But for people who are already in poor health or who are of advanced age, falls can be devastating, and even deadly. Nursing home residents are particularly at risk from the injuries associated with slips and falls, and that’s why facilities must do everything in their power to prevent falls.
When nursing home owners and administrators don’t address potential slip and fall hazards and residents end up becoming injured because of those hazards, the nursing home can and should be held liable. For many nursing home residents, a single fall can be the catalyst for permanently lost mobility, infection, and eventually even death.
Nursing home residents face many of the same slip and fall risks as people in other public and private buildings. The difference is that while young and healthy people may be able to walk off a fall without injury, nursing home residents often can’t. Typical hazards include:
Whether they were freshly mopped, have accumulated rainwater from people entering from outside, or had a drink spilled on them, nursing home floors can be extremely dangerous to residents when they are slick. Nursing home staff should always be on the lookout for wet floors and should always keep residents away from recently mopped and waxed floors.
Floors should be clear of hazards, debris, and obstacles. When they aren’t, residents can trip over them, whether they walk unassisted or with walkers. Common hazards on nursing home floors include vacuum cleaner cords, food trays and trash cans outside of resident rooms, and loose rugs.
Many nursing home residents rely on canes and walkers to get around their rooms and the common areas of their facilities. These assistive devices should be extremely sturdy and reliable when walking and when residents rest on them. When these devices aren’t capable of supporting residents’ weight, they can break or slip, causing residents to fall.
When residents walk through their nursing homes, their feet should always be on secure surfaces. But some facilities put residents at risk due to loose, torn, or frayed carpet; chipped or loose tile; or uneven flooring or steps. Nursing home administrators should be aware of and immediately fix damaged and dangerous flooring to reduce residents’ risks.
Many residents need supervision and assistance when walking, even when they use canes and walkers. They may need help getting to elevators and even getting in and out of bed. When nursing home staff don’t give these residents the assistance they need, they can fall in their rooms or in common areas and become seriously injured.
A single fall can be extremely damaging to a nursing home resident, especially if they are elderly or already in poor health. Common complications of slips and falls include:
Slips and falls can result in broken bones, and few have worse long-term prognoses than broken hips. Nursing home residents who break their hips often face permanently reduced mobility and a significantly increased risk of death.
When nursing home residents fall and hit their heads, they can suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can affect every aspect of residents’ daily lives and make it impossible for them to live without around-the-clock care.
Sometimes, residents can physically recover from their slips and falls, but they develop a fear of walking—even with an assistive device like a cane or walker. In these cases, residents may refuse to leave their rooms or suddenly require wheelchairs to get around.
Nursing home residents already face the threat of neglect and abuse from staff members. The last thing they need is to worry about slips, trips, and falls when they are in their rooms or using common areas in their facilities, including hallways, dining rooms, and recreational areas, all of which are supposed to be safe.
At Vance Law Firm, our Montgomery personal injury lawyers get maximum compensation for residents and their families when the facilities they live in don’t take all the necessary precautions to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. Contact us if your loved one suffered a slip and fall in their nursing home. We’ll look for evidence that proves the nursing home was negligent, and then we’ll demand that they pay your family a fair settlement.