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Falls: A Possible Sign of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

September 19, 2022
Author: Martin J. Solomon
woman pushing elderly woman in a wheelchair outside on the grass during sunset

Falls occur often among the elderly. But did you know that elderly individuals fall at twice the rate if they live in a nursing home versus living independently?

The CDC estimates that 50% to 75% of patients in nursing homes will experience a fall of some kind each year. That’s why it’s essential to examine the circumstances of falls of elderly loved ones at nursing homes to determine whether it’s simply an accident or the result of abuse or neglect.

Reasons Falls Occur in Nursing Homes 

As we age, loss of mobility, motor function, and vision contribute to a greater fall risk during normal activities. Many patients in nursing homes are there because they already require special care due to a variety of conditions that also increase the chance of falling. 

Here are some of the most common reasons elderly patients may fall in a nursing home.

Health Risks of Falls

Dangerous complications can arise when elderly individuals fall, especially if it goes unreported or is downplayed by the nursing home staff. About 1 in 5 falls lead to serious injuries. In 2019 alone, falls resulted in 34,000 deaths in adults over 65 years old, making falls the leading cause of injury death in this age group. 

Every fall should be taken seriously, as elderly individuals are at greater risk for serious and often life-threatening complications from even the smallest accidents such as:

Falls in Nursing Homes: Warning Signs of Potential Abuse and Neglect

Most falls in nursing homes are preventable when proper precautions and safety measures are met. If you notice any of these mistakes in fall intervention, it could be a sign that your loved one’s fall was not an accident but rather the result of abuse or neglect.

Signs a Facility May Be Covering Up a Fall

If your loved one has difficulty speaking or communicating, they may not be able to advocate for proper care and reporting if they fall. Watch for these signs that a fall has gone undetected or been mishandled due to neglect or abuse that your loved one can’t communicate to you on their own: 

What To Do if You Suspect a Fall is Caused by Abuse or Neglect

Your top priority should be to ensure your loved one receives immediate medical attention if they experience a fall at a nursing home. Once you have a better idea of the seriousness of their injuries and the care they will receive, there are a few more steps you can take to address your concerns about abuse or neglect. 

Based in Arizona, Solomon & Relihan are experts in representing cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, including falls. Solomon & Relihan has represented personal injury victims since 1974 and can advise families on what the federal and state laws in this practice area cover, and how they can respond to their loved one’s case of abuse or neglect in a nursing home.

Contact Solomon & Relihan now for a free consultation to find out more and discuss the quality of care of a loved one in a nursing home.

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