Are Nursing Homes Liable for Slips and Falls?
Nursing homes are legally liable when one of their residents is injured in a slip and fall, but these cases also differ from other slip and fall lawsuits.
Seniors are more likely to fall and more likely to suffer serious injuries due to their age and health conditions, and often the cause is not related to their surroundings.
A fall in a managed care facility can happen the way these accidents typically take place, such as a person slipping on uneven carpet or on a wet floor, but that is often not the case. Instead, when an elderly person falls in a nursing home, it is typically because they weren’t adequately supervised. Here are more reasons a nursing home may be liable:
● The staff failed to properly care for the resident.
● The staff failed to follow the resident’s health plan.
● The staff were not properly trained.
● The administration or staff failed to maintain the facility.
● The staff did not follow the facility’s protocol.
Extreme cases can also fall under nursing home abuse or neglect. Nursing home workers often have long hours, low pay, and poor training, all of which increase the chances a senior will be abused or neglected.
Seniors are more likely to fall and more likely to suffer serious injuries due to their age and health conditions
Nursing Homes and Safety
One of the most common reasons elderly people enter aged care centers is because their family members can no longer manage their care at home. They may not be able to keep their loved one safe as their health deteriorates. Falls are very dangerous for seniors, and families expect the nursing home staff to prevent falls and other injuries.
The federal government also expects nursing homes to keep their residents safe, and that’s why these facilities are required to perform a clinical assessment of their residents that is known as a Minimum Data Set, or MDS. This is an assessment of each resident’s health needs, and it includes an assessment of their fall risk.
This assessment will be performed during the admissions process, so the staff members know who is at risk and that they need close supervision. The resident must also be periodically reassessed to see if the situation has changed. If the MDS shows that a senior is at risk of falls but they fall and are injured anyway, the facility is legally liable.
Why Seniors Are Prone to Falling
The following conditions are common reasons why seniors fall in nursing homes. Any of these could lead to a fall that causes contusions, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, or death.
Seniors can suffer from a variety of diseases that can affect their balance and increase their chances of falling. These may include arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Seniors often take a variety of medications, and some of them cause drowsiness. Taking a cocktail of prescription and over-the-counter medications can also lead to drug interactions. This can make it more difficult for seniors to keep their balance.
Many elderly people suffer from impaired vision that worsens as they age, making navigating a room a challenge. This can be caused by eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Pain and Weakness
Many elderly people have lost their mobility due to surgical procedures that can leave them in pain and in a weakened state. In addition to this, seniors may not get enough exercise, and this further weakens them. This can result in a loss of balance or increased incoordination.
If you have reason to believe an aged care facility’s negligence was responsible for your loved one’s injury or death, consider reaching out to a nursing home abuse law firm for guidance. An attorney can help you uncover evidence that proves negligence, neglect, or abuse and walk you through the steps involved in a lawsuit.