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The duty of a nursing home to prevent patient falls

One common reason why families place their loved ones in nursing homes is for their own protection. Elderly parents may become forgetful or confused. They may be unable to cook for themselves, forget to take their medicine or neglect their own hygiene. Your parents may fit this description. Additionally, many older parents become unsteady and require the kind of attention and care you cannot provide because of your own obligations.

If you chose an Ohio nursing facility after your loved one suffered injuries in a fall at home, you may have been shocked to see injuries on your parent from a fall after you moved him or her to the nursing home. Falls that result in a bruise or bump at a younger age can be devastating to older individuals, and nursing homes have an important duty to protect your parent from such falls.

Is the nursing home doing enough?

Nearly 3 million people over the age of 65 end up in emergency rooms each year after falling. In many cases, these individuals experience a rapid decline in health, mobility and function after such falls. For some, the fall results in a premature death. If your loved one was among those treated in an emergency room after a fall, you have every reason to be concerned and to want answers. Nursing homes have a responsibility to take every necessary precaution to prevent falls, including the following:

  • Assessing your loved one for fall risk and re-evaluating frequently
  • Incorporating activities that provide opportunities for your loved one to improve strength and coordination
  • Surveying the environment for tripping and slipping hazards throughout the day
  • Developing protocol for assisting your loved one with bathroom use
  • Monitoring your loved one when he or she walks or attempts to get out of bed
  • Reporting falls, investigating their causes and developing a plan for preventing future falls
  • Reviewing your loved one's medications with a pharmacist

Medications are a common contributor to unsteadiness in the elderly. If your loved one is taking a prescription for sleep aid, pain relief, blood pressure, dementia or other conditions, you may want to partner with doctors and pharmacists about the possibility of reducing or eliminating medication that increase the risk of your loved one falling.

If your parent's nursing home failed to take the necessary precautions to protect your loved one from a fall that resulted in injury or death, you have a right to seek justice. Speaking with an attorney can be your first step in determining the best course of action.

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