A number of recent cases of falls in nursing homes across the country underscore the danger peril in which it places elderly residents, and also the wide scope of the problem.
The first report follows a number of incidents at six nursing homes throughout Connecticut, where the state Department of Public Health issued fines after two residents died and several others suffered broken bones as a result of falls. The Hartford Courant reports one facility was fined after two serious falls, one fatal. In the first, a resident fell after the clip on a mechanical sling broke. He suffered a broken bone at the base of his skull and died less than a week later. In the second incident, a resident suffered a broken risk after an aide wrongly left the the resident alone.
In a third case, a resident on two anticoagulant drugs underwent emergency surgery and died after suffering multiple bruises sustained in several falls that were not immediately reported by the staff nurse. A fourth case in that state involved a resident who fell eight times within three month span, the last time striking his head on a chair and suffering a broken neck. The department alleged nursing home staffers failed to notify a physician for five full days. At that same facility, another resident suffered 22 falls and broke his hip twice in the course of six months. In yet another case, a resident fell an astonishing 34 times, suffering two head injuries and a broken hand. Another resident who fell after an aide failed to use protective legwear when moving a resident from a wheelchair to a bed suffered a laceration that required 11 stitches.
In Illinois, guardians of a 79-year-old man are suing an assisted living facility after it is alleged the man fell three times and suffered serious injury after each, though staffers allegedly failed to reassess the man’s health after each fall. He suffered cuts, bruises, multiple skull fractures, rib fractures and spinal injuries. His guardians are seeking more than $50,000 in damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
And in Iowa, the daughter of a nursing home resident who died at age 93 is suing the nursing home where she resided prior to her death, alleging staffers were negligent in preventing a wheelchair fall that resulted in severe brain damage and ultimately death. Staffers allegedly left her unattended for an extended time, and then found her face down and unresponsive. She suffered a broken nose, a broken eye socket and severe and permanent brain damage.
Our nursing home fall lawyers in Broward County recognize this is a serious and ongoing problem within the elder health care system. These incidents are largely preventable and represent an egregious failure to adhere to appropriate standards of care.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the average nursing home resident suffers 2.6 falls every year. As these cases illustrate, that’s likely a conservative estimate. More than a third of fall injuries occur among residents who are unable to walk, meaning they primarily happen when patients are being transferred or left unattended. It’s estimated approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die annually from nursing home falls.
Even when falls are not fatal, 1 in 5 result in serious injuries, and result in disability, functional decline and diminished life quality.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Nursing Homes Fined After Two Deaths, Numerous Falls, Nov. 5, 2015, By Kate Farrish, Hartford Courant
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Advocacy Group to Feds: Stop Funding Predatory Nursing Homes, Oct. 31, 2015, Broward Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog