Siegal & RichardsonLLP

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Fall prevention measures must be in place in nursing homes

Nursing home residents face many risks. One is the risk of falling, which is often preventable. All skilled nursing facilities must have steps in place to prevent residents from falling. There isn't one specific plan that works for all cases. Instead, every individual has to have a customized plan that addresses their specific issues.

Some of the methods used in nursing facilities are present for all residents. These include having rugs secured on the floor, keeping floors neat, using no-slip strips on stairs and ramps, and having handrails around the facility.

Fall prevention evaluations

One of the first things that happens is an evaluation to determine what type of preventative measures can help to keep the resident safe. Multiple points must be considered, so anyone who has a loved one entering a nursing facility should ask about what's being done for this evaluation.

There are many factors that must be considered during these evaluations. These include:

  • Resident's vision and depth perception
  • Functional status
  • Incontinence problems
  • Any fall history
  • Medication use, including cardiac medications or psychotropic medications
  • Cognitive status
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Use of adaptive equipment

Each resident's file should include what risks they face and how the nursing facility staff is going to address them. For some patients, this might include having assistance when they are ready to stand up and walk. If a resident has this need, the facility must ensure they have enough staffing to handle those needs. Failing to plan properly could mean that a resident doesn't have help to get to the restroom, which could lead to their falling while trying to make it to the toilet.

Not all falls are from a standing position

While it is easy to focus on falls that occur from a standing position, there are others, too. Residents can suffer injuries when they fall from chairs or beds. Bedrails can go a long way toward protecting residents. Finding options for chairs might prove a bit more challenging, but having chairs with arms helps.

When a nursing facility resident falls, they are at risk of suffering from serious injuries. Broken bones, head injuries and others might all occur. These will require medical care because people in nursing homes are often frail and have underlying injuries that aren't immediately noticeable. If a someone is injured in a fall because the nursing facility was negligent, legal action may be in order.

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