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  • Leitner Varughese Warywoda

Falls in Nursing Homes: Who is Liable?

When you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in New York, you should not have to worry about your loved one’s safety because of the risks of nursing home negligence. Yet nursing home negligence results in more injuries than you might expect. Indeed, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse(NCEA), more than 15% of older adults may suffer injuries from abuse or neglect every year, and research suggests that those injury rates are actually underreported. While some injuries that occur in nursing homes or assisted living facilities might not always result from abuse or neglect, most resident injuries are preventable with proper attention and care. Falls, in particular, are typically preventable when nursing homes are properly staffed, residents have an adequate level of care, and facilities take precautions to avoid falls.


Accordingly, many falls in nursing homes do result from nursing home negligence, and the facility may be liable for harm. Our New York nursing home negligence lawyers can say more about liability for falls in nursing homes.


Nursing Homes Have a Duty to Ensure the Premises are Safe for Residents


Nursing homes have a duty to make sure that their premises are safe for residents and are not putting residents at risk of a fall. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality(AHRQ), nursing homes should have a plan to address obvious risk factors for falls, including but not limited to:


● Dim lighting or broken lights;

● Uneven floors;

● Liquid spills on floors;

● Unstable furniture;

● Clutter in walkways or living areas; and

● Inappropriate footwear.


Nursing Homes Must Provide Adequate Staff to Care for Residents


Many nursing home residents need assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living where a fall could occur. Nursing homes must have adequate staff to provide appropriate care to residents so that they do not get hurt while trying to perform these tasks themselves.


Nursing Homes Should Focus on Fall Management


According to AHRQ, falls are extremely common in nursing homes, and they often occur when facilities do not have programs in place designed to avoid falls. Indeed, as the AHRQ points out, approximately 50% of all nursing home residents in the U.S. will fall in a given year, and approximately one-third of those residents will fall more than once in a given year. For older adults, falls can result in debilitating and life-threatening injuries, and about 10% of nursing home residents who fall will suffer a severe injury such as a hip fracture.


Due to the seriousness of falls, the AHRQ urges nursing homes to design fall-prevention and safety programs to ensure that accidents do not happen in which seniors sustain serious injuries. When nursing homes know about risks or recognize the need to improve safety and fail to do so, they can be liable for injuries resulting from falls.


Contact a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in New York


Do you have questions about filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit after a fall? One of our experienced New York nursing home negligence attorneys can speak with you today about the possibility of filing a lawsuit and holding a nursing home accountable for injuries. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC to learn more about the services we provide.



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