Older adults are at higher risk of experiencing a same-level fall than younger people, and they are more likely to experience serious medical consequences after a fall. As a result, it is often a history of falling or concerns that someone could end up injured with no one to help them that leads someone to move into a nursing home.
Given that someone may pay thousands of dollars a month for a room in a specialized medical facility, they expect that they will receive an appropriate degree of support so that they can live a safe and comfortable daily life despite their physical limitations. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some falls in nursing homes are inevitable, but many of them are preventable. The three signs below are all indicators that a fall may be the result of negligence rather than age or bad luck.
There was a long wait for someone to help
Oftentimes, those who fall in nursing homes do so because they attempt to handle some aspect of daily life without assistance from staff members. Falls can occur when someone who has asked for help waits too long for someone to assist them with going to the bathroom or another basic task. After they fall, they could remain in that position for quite some time, possibly even more than an hour, before staff members realize what happened. The longer someone goes without help, the more likely it is that there is a negligent standard of support at the facility.
Someone experiences repeated falls
Once an older adult has demonstrated a proclivity for falling, the professionals providing their care should adjust their living space and support services accordingly. Providing walkers and simply being more proactive about checking in on certain individuals could go a long way toward preventing falls that leave older adults injured. When nursing homes fail to adjust their services to reflect someone’s needs or assess them routinely for fall risk, it may be possible to claim that the standard of care at the facility was negligent.
The fall results from poor facility maintenance
Some falls occur simply because an individual loses their balance or attempts to step up or down without assistance. Other falls occur because someone encounters obstacles, such as ripped carpeting or a liquid spill on hard floor. When inadequate facility maintenance and cleaning is the underlying cause of an older adult’s fall, the failure to maintain the facilities could constitute actionable negligence.
The outcome of a successful nursing home negligence claim could be compensation for those affected by an inadequate standard of care at a facility and even changes in how a company manages the space or provides for residents. Recognizing the warning signs that negligence may have caused an older adult’s fall can help loved ones to more effectively advocate for those living in nursing homes.