You and your family came to the difficult decision that your elderly loved one needed nursing home care, and then you dedicated your efforts to finding the facility that best fit your relative’s physical, emotional, and social needs. If instead of quality care and protection your loved suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident, deep trauma can result. Your elderly relative’s health and well-being are too important to leave to chance, so if you find yourself in this situation, seek skilled legal guidance.
Abuse of Elders
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as any “intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult (60 years or older).” One categorization of elder abuse defined by the CDC is neglect, characterized by a caregiver’s failure to protect an elderly person from harm, such as a slip and fall accident.
If your loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident that took place in a nursing home, you need experienced legal counsel. The skilled nursing home abuse lawyers at The Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis are here to help you through the most complicated nursing home neglect claims. Our dedicated legal team has the knowledge, experience, and compassion to fight for your loved one’s rights and rightful compensation.
Nursing Home Neglect Statistics
Due to underreporting and other variables, the true statistics related to nursing home neglect are elusive. Nevertheless, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that nearly one in every three nursing homes was cited for violations of federal standards that either harmed or had the potential to harm residents in the two-year period from 1999 to 2001. In this same two-year period, almost one in every 10 nursing homes was cited for a violation that harmed or seriously injured a resident, or left a resident in jeopardy of death.
Indianapolis Nursing Home Slip and Fall Accidents
The CDC directly addresses the issue of slip and fall accidents in nursing homes:
- About 5 percent of those aged 65 and older live in nursing homes, but this 5 percent accounts for 20 percent of all slip and fall fatalities in this age group.
- Although many falls go unreported, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports between 100 and 200 falls each year.
- Residents often fall repeatedly, and the average rate is 2.6 falls per year.
- Between 50 and 75 percent of residents in nursing homes fall each year, twice the rate for similarly aged adults living in the community
The CDC reports that 1,800 nursing home residents die in falls each year. Furthermore, 10 to 20 percent of falls in nursing homes lead to serious injuries and 2 to 6 percent result in fractures. These falls, however, don’t lead solely to physical disabilities, diminished quality of life, and functional decline. Instead, they can also instill an enhanced fear of falling that exacerbates the physical issues and can elicit mental health concerns, including depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness.
The CDC identifies environmental hazards as causing 16 to 27 percent of falls among residents in nursing homes. These hazards can include wet and slippery floors, inadequate or poor lighting, improperly fitted or poorly maintained wheelchairs or mobility aids, and beds and/or furniture set at improper or unsafe heights.
Nursing home residents are subject to the living conditions provided by the healthcare facility. If a nursing home fails to maintain safe living quarters, it can lead to slip and fall accidents. Due to their increased frailty and diminished balance, nursing home residents are more susceptible to serious falls, and nursing homes owe a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for all their residents.
If you notice safety lapses in the healthcare facility where your loved one resides, don’t hesitate to call attention to the problem with the facility’s administrative team. You could prevent a catastrophic accident.
Your Loved One’s Risk of Falling
When you entrust your loved one to a nursing home, that skilled nursing facility is obligated to assess your relative’s physical health and needs at intake and to create and adhere to an individualized plan of care that specifically addresses those needs. This includes assessing each resident’s personal fall factors:
- Mobility limitations
- General loss of strength and balance
- Medications associated with drowsiness, dizziness, or delayed reaction times
- Impaired vision
Any of these factors can contribute to a resident’s likelihood of injury in a slip and fall accident, and the healthcare facility should adequately attend to them.
Furthermore, residents at increased risk of falling need assistive devices to provide them with reasonable protection from falls:
- Mobility aids, including walkers and wheelchairs
- Beds, chairs, toilets, and shower seats set at safe heights
- Well-positioned grab bars and railings
- Cushioned surfaces
Finally, nursing homes must maintain these safety devices and keep them in good working order.
Signs of a Fall
For a variety of reasons, victims of nursing home slip and falls aren’t always forthcoming about these accidents. Watch for some telltale signs, including unexplained injuries, bruises, and abrasions. If you’re concerned that your loved one may have suffered from a slip and fall accident, consult an experienced nursing home neglect attorney.
Contact The Law Office of William W. Hurst to Consult an Indianapolis Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Today
If your elderly relative was injured in a nursing home slip and fall accident, you know how difficult that is. The dedicated legal team at The Law Office of William W. Hurst is here to help. We have the experience and compassion to aggressively advocate for your loved one’s rights and just compensation. To schedule a free consultation, contact or call us at (317) 636-0808 today.