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Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas

The Danger of Nursing Home Falls in Virginia

Injuries from falls in nursing homes can be very serious for elderly residents.  In fact, research has revealed that about 1,800 nursing home residents die every year from falls.  Even if a fall doesn’t kill, it can dramatically reduce a person’s quality of life.

Nursing home residents are especially at risk for falls because they often suffer from a variety of health issues that make them frail and impair their balance.  Some factors that increase the likelihood of a fall include chronic conditions, difficulty walking, memory problems, cognitive issues, and movement disorders.

The problem of falls in nursing homes is bigger than many people realize.  By some estimates, 3 out of 4 nursing home residents fall every year – many more than once a year – however many falls go unreported so it is difficult to know the exact number.  What is known is that adults in nursing homes are about twice as likely to fall as adults not in a home.  This is partially because residents typically have more physical and mental challenges than residents not in a home.

Falls can happen when a resident is walking, and they can also happen to residents who cannot walk.  Elderly residents can fall from chairs or beds, which is one justification that facility staff use for employing restraints.  However, research shows that routine restraint use does not prevent falls and can actually increase fall-related injuries and death.

Not all nursing home falls lead to serious injury, but some do.  Studies show that about 10 to 20 percent of falls in a nursing home lead to a serious injury, and 2 to 6 percent of falls result in fractures.  Falls can also be mentally debilitating for residents, not only causing pain but also making them fearful of falling again.

With nearly two million people living in nursing homes across the nation, health and safety issues like falls will continue to get attention.  If a resident is seriously hurt or killed in a nursing home fall, an investigation can be done to determine the cause of the fall.  In some cases, falls are caused by negligent staff or poor living conditions.  In these situations the nursing home can and should be held accountable for the abuse and neglect they caused.

Do you know somebody hurt or killed by nursing home negligence?  There is hope.  Skilled nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys like those at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas LLP can review your case for no cost or obligation to see if they can help.  Please contact one of their Virginia law offices today to speak with a lawyer.