Oklahoma Nursing Home Falls Practice Areas

Are Falls By Residents Serious Events?

As nursing home neglect lawyers in Oklahoma, “WE ENFORCE RULES THAT PROTECT RESIDENTS”…The leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among Americans over the age of 65 is falls (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, 2009). In fact, falls by the elderly are the NUMBER ONE cause of injuries in nursing homes. Falls are extremely serious and cause severe injuries, including: brain trauma, broken bones, subdural hematomas and death. Nursing homes are very aware of these facts.

Repeatedly, in depositions by Greer & McGill PC attorneys, nursing home administrators admit that nursing home facilities take falls by the elderly very seriously because they can cause serious harm to their residents and even death. As explained by Dr. Kersey Winfree MD, leading geriatric medicine expert from St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “Falls by residents causing broken hips and lower extremity weakness trigger a ‘downward spiral to death’ phenomena”. In short, due to the fragile predisposition of the elderly resident, the immobility caused by the fall exposes the resident to disease processes and body breakdown, signaling death, that would not have occurred but for the fall event.

The Federal Government (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) notes:

  • Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported.
  • Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year. That’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community.
  • Patients often fall more than once. The average is 2.6 falls per person per year.
  • About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot safely walk.

What is the impact of falls overall?

  • About 1,800 people die from falls in nursing homes, each year.
  • About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.
  • Falls result in disability, functional decline and a reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.

Why Do Falls In Nursing Homes Occur?

Many times residents are pre-disposed for fall events due to their health condition. As such, nursing homes are required by law to perform a FALL RISK ASSESSMENT of the resident on admission to the facility. Many times this is not done or done in a timely fashion. Yet, nursing homes argue that the fall was unpreventable. Additionally, nursing homes frequently fail to take the necessary precautions to keep residents safe and reduce the risk of falls. These available interventions include:

  • Bed alarms
  • Senor alarms
  • Chair alarms
  • Floor mats
  • Toileting plans
  • Frequent supervision
  • Bed rails
  • Hip pads
  • Low beds
  • Educating staff about fall risk prevention
  • Ensuring residents wear proper shoes

DUE TO NURSING HOME NEGLECT, a large number of nursing homes fail to take these fall prevention measures. Staffing cost is usually one of the most expensive items in a nursing home’s budget. Frequently, nursing home owners reap hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in profits per nursing home. Less staff, more money, worse care, more falls.

If you or someone you know has experienced a fall in a nursing home, contact Greer & McGill PC. Kerry McGill has decades of experience in representing residents and their families in cases involving serious injury or death in fall events in nursing homes. Speak up now for those loved ones that cannot speak for themselves.