As people get older, they often become unsteady on their feet. It’s not uncommon for a fall to be the reason that someone enters into assisted living or a nursing home.
Even though that’s the case, falls can signify more than just old age. They could also be a sign that your loved one isn’t getting the care they need from those who are meant to be watching over them. Falls could be a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Falls are common in nursing homes
Falls are not unusual in a nursing home setting. In fact, around half of the 1.6 million residents in nursing homes fall each year. Approximately one in three will fall twice or more in a single year.
Falls themselves are not necessarily a sign of nursing home neglect, but they can be when they happen frequently or when your loved one is already on a fall-risk watch. Falls do often have serious consequences, such as broken bones, head injuries and other wounds, so it’s important that the elderly and frail are monitored carefully when they are moving around on their own.
A fall prevention program should be put into place if your loved one has a history of falls. If you notice that they are falling more often despite this, you may want to look more closely into what’s happening.
Is the staff overwhelmed and unable to respond to call lights? Is your loved one unable to get up on their own and now needs more regular attention than this facility can provide?
Falls could, in some cases, also be a sign of dehydration, medication side effects, malnutrition and other issues that do need to be addressed.
When a fall is linked to neglect or abuse, your loved one needs immediate help
After a fall, it may be appropriate to call 911 to get your loved one to a hospital. From there, you can assess what to do next. If you believe that neglect or abuse was to blame, you may want to look into the legal options for pursuing a claim against the nursing home.