Falls in nursing homes happen much too often, and older adults end up suffering serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries as a result. At the very least, falls in nursing homes often result in the nursing home resident becoming even less mobile and requiring additional care. Indeed, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), approximately 50% of all nursing home residents suffer a fall injury each year in a nursing facility in the U.S., and about one out of every three residents who does fall will end up falling two times or more that year. The AHRQ also emphasizes that falls can have devastating consequences for seniors in nursing homes, even when a fall does not result in a serious injury. To be sure, “residents who fall without injury often develop a fear of falling that leads to self-imposed limitation of activity.” When falls do result in serious injuries, those seniors often experience a “reduced quality of life,” an “increased fear of falling and restriction of activities,” a “decreased ability to function,” and an “increased risk of death.
About 10% of all nursing home residents who fall will suffer a traumatic injury like a hip fracture. In many cases, these falls result from nursing home negligence. What do you need to know about filing a lawsuit for a nursing home fall?
Nursing Homes Owe Residents a Duty of Care
In most cases involving fall-related injuries at nursing homes, the facility and its staff members did not intend for the resident to fall or to get hurt. Falls do not typically result from intentional physical or emotional abuse, as other nursing home injuries can. Rather, these accidents and accompanying injuries typically occur because of negligence and passive neglect. When nursing homes do not have a sufficient number of staff to provide care and supervision for residents, those residents can fall in various ways. For example, a nursing home resident who is largely confined to his or her bed without assistance from a staff member can suffer a fall trying to get out of bed to use the restroom if a staff member does not respond to calls. Or, for nursing home residents who are more mobile, a fall can happen if that resident needs some assistance walking to a dining area and cannot get help from a staff member in a timely manner. At the same time, hazards at the nursing facility that have not been remedied or repaired can also result in falls.
The key thing to know is that nursing homes owe residents a duty of care, and residents should be able to expect that they will receive reasonable and timely care from the facility. If a nursing home or its staff members fail to provide care as necessary, or fail to identify and fix environmental hazards at the nursing home that could result in a resident falling, the facility may have breached its duty of care to the resident. Accordingly, the resident may be eligible to file a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the facility.
Common Hazards at Nursing Homes that Lead to Negligence Lawsuits
There are many different types of environmental hazards that can exist at a nursing home, and those hazards might lead to falls among residents. The AHRQ cites the following as common fall risk factors that often result in nursing home negligence lawsuits after a resident suffers injuries in a fall:
● Poor lighting;
● Cluttered living space;
● Uneven floors;
● Wet areas;
● Unstable furniture;
● Unstable bed wheels;
● Ineffective wheelchair brakes;
● Missing equipment parts;
● Improper footwear;
● Hard-to-manage clothing; and
● Inaccessible personal items.
Seek Advice from a New York Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
Our New York nursing home negligence attorneys are here to assist you with your nursing home negligence lawsuit. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today for more information about filing a claim.