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According to The National Safety Council, it is estimated that injuries are the highest cause of mortality among persons over the age of 65. Of those injuries, approximately half of them were caused by falls. The statistics speak for the severity of the situations themselves. While the idea of a loved one falling and potentially being injured is scary, it is important to understand why the falls are occurring. The decision to put a family member into a nursing home is hard enough, especially when you place their safety into the hands of others. In a typical 100 bed nursing home, 100-200 falls are reported each year, not to mention the falls that go unreported. Laws state that nursing homes must provide adequate monitoring and help in order to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, as is evident, falls happen nevertheless, and the results can be fatal.

Complication of Falls
It is the job of the nursing home to assess the needs of each patient, and provide a safe and healthy living environment. Typically, when a patient first arrives at a nursing home, a care plan should be generated to prevent accidents from happening. Such a plan may include which safety devices are needed, what types of personal assistance is required, and whether or not the nursing home is equipped to handle these needs. Failure to meet these needs is neglect. In addition, the care plan should be reassessed regularly. Since the nursing home is receiving monetary payment for their services, it is imperative that the services be of the utmost quality.

Some falls can be the result of negligence on the behalf of the nursing home staff. Some examples of negligent acts may be poor railing supports, less than adequate wheelchairs, clutter or wet floors, call button failures, unqualified staff to assist hurt patients, poor supervision, weakness due to malnutrition or dehydration, medications, and many more. While the list is long, finding the culprit for the fall is essential in holding personnel responsible for your families safety. Of course, not all accidents are caused by negligence, but if you suspect that your loved one has suffered an accident as a result of abuse or negligence, you must contact an attorney immediately. It could mean the health of your loved ones.

Unfortunately, sometimes nursing homes will blame the patient for the fall. Personally examine the situation yourself for potential negligent reasons. For example, check all the alert devices for working order. Also, if your loved one suffers from a disease such as Alzheimer's, or from mental lapses, he or she should not be responsible for knowing the procedures at all times, and the nursing home is still required to provide a duty of care. Falling, once believed to be a part of the aging process, is now considered to be a dangerous, and possibly preventable, accident.

Falls in general can lead to a whole slew of problems, including broken bones, which may necessitate long recoveries for the elderly. However, many people do not know that a fall can also cause fatal brain damage if your loved one hits their head during the fall. Traumatic brain injuries result in long term emotional and functional impairment. Understand that all falls need to be taken seriously, and your loved one needs to have a medical checkup following any fall.

If you have come to the conclusion that the accident was the result of negligence on the part of some person or persons, then it is a good idea for you to sit down and discuss your current situation with a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to present you with all of your options, and keep your best interests in mind. In addition, an experienced lawyer understands the complex workings of the legal system and elderly care, which will in turn ease your mind during this difficult time. Place your worries in the hands of the professionals, and focus on the emotional state of your loved ones.


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