What to Do About Nursing Home Falls
We rely on nursing homes to be the sort of places where it is much less likely for someone to sustain an injury. For instance, a loved one may be in a nursing home because they were alone too often and falling down too much. Rather than continue putting their health at risk, your family decided that a nursing home setting would be healthier and safer for everyone. But then, you get a call saying that your loved one was injured in a nursing home fall. What do you do?
Getting the Facts
While a nursing home is supposed to minimize the threat of a fall, there is nowhere that someone is always entirely free of the risk of taking a fall. After all, you yourself might fall in your own home, on the street, at work, or anywhere else. However, all nursing homes are supposed to create some sort of individualized plan for care that addresses a loved one's tendency to fall, and how to overcome it.
Patients in nursing homes are supposed to be regularly evaluated to determine if they are at risk for falling or if they have become a bit frail and may be more likely to fall. The staff is then supposed to follow such plans that might include everything from railings on the bed and the use of a walker and more. If they fail to make that plan, update it as needed, or follow it, and a fall occurs, it is now a case of negligence.
Is this negligence a form of medical malpractice? Is it something that should result in a legal case against the nursing home? That has to start with one major question: Was the fall (whether serious or minor) avoidable?
In other words, if a loved one takes a fall in their nursing home, you have to first ask yourself if it was an isolated incident or was it because the standard of care was not up to par?
You can start to determine whether or not negligence was at work on your own, but it might be best to talk to an attorney immediately after making sure your loved one is safe and uninjured (or receiving proper care for injuries). The experienced lawyer will be the ideal resource for getting the answers you need in order to determine your next moves.
After all, how would you go about finding out if the nursing home staff was complying with the legal standards of care? Who might you speak with and what questions would you pose? Your attorney would know to determine if there was adequate staff, if they had appropriate training, and even if the equipment in use was suitable to your loved one's care plan.
Remember, too, that there are so many reasons that your loved one might have had that fall, and many of them can point towards inadequate care or attention, and negligence. For instance, perhaps the walker or cane that was being used was not the right size. It could be that there were wet floors or too much clutter in the spaces where your loved one was attempting to walk. It could be that medication was wrongly administered or that your loved one's glasses were not available as they got dressed.
There are scores of reasons for nursing home falls, but you don't have to just settle for the excuses offered. As soon as you are sure your loved one is alright, unharmed, or receiving adequate care, you can then get in touch with a legal expert who can help you determine if you should begin to take legal action.
Lawyers.com. Are Nursing Homes Responsible When Residents Falls? 2015. http://personal-injury.lawyers.com/nursing-home-litigation/are-nursing-homes-responsible-when-residents-fall.html