When the elderly fall, they usually sustain more than just a bruise or two. Many seniors end up breaking bones, fracturing hips and even sustain head injuries due to the frail nature of their bones. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are about 380,000 hip fracture cases annually. Surprising, many of these falls occur in nursing home facilities-facilities where the elderly should be monitored and carefully watched.
Duty of Connecticut Nursing Home Facilities
Nursing homes are expected to provide adequate care for elderly residents living in their facilities. Federal law mandates that nursing home facilities ensure that they are “free of accident hazards as is possible; and that each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.”
Specifically, incoming nursing home residents must be assessed by a qualified staff member. An R.N. or physician must conduct proper and periodic monitoring for all residents to determine their risks for falling. If residents need help walking, have a high risk of falling, or have a history of falls, then special accommodations and closer monitoring are required.
The facility must also maintain close observation of seniors who experience a fall and continuously re-evaluate their condition until they recover.
Falls Remain Frequent in Nursing Homes
Yet, despite the nursing home regulations currently in place, many seniors still experience falls. But why? Experts point to a number of reasons.
In some cases, incoming nursing home residents are not properly assessed by a qualified staff member or they are simply left unattended. Some facilities fail to adequately equip residents’ beds with safety devices or bed rails or the nursing home may erect the beds too high. Other nursing homes may fail to install proper alarm systems or overlook the need for crash mats if slippery floors are present.
Along with bruises, broken bones and fractures, a fall can easily result in head injuries, paralysis, and even death. Some injuries result in prolonged pain and suffering and depleted quality of life.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that around 30 percent of people over 65 will fall each year. This equates to about 433,000 hospitalizations annually.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious fall at a residential institution, it’s important to consult with legal counsel to understand your rights and options under the law. Bridgeport residents are encouraged to seek assistance from an experienced Bridgeport nursing home injury attorney.