Falls From Wheelchairs

Written By: Kenneth LaBore | Published On: 28th January 2017
Nursing Home Falls from Wheelchairs

Nursing Home Falls from Wheelchairs

Nursing Home Resident Falls From Wheelchairs

Falls in nursing homes and other elder care facilities happen in many ways, including falls from patient lifts and falls from wheelchairs, falls out of bed and falls in the bathroom.

According to federal regulations, nursing homes need to assess residents and ensure that reasonable measures were taken to avoid accidents including falls.

Reasons for Falls From Wheelchairs

Due to the medical condition and the medications taken by residents it is not uncommon for vulnerable persons to be unable to sit up safely in their chair, or wheelchair.  They may tip from side to side or fall forward and hit their head.  Or they may slip down and out of the wheelchair and injure their pelvis, hip or femur in the leg, ankle or foot.

Open Stairwell Falls from Wheelchairs

Open Stairwell Falls from Wheelchairs

Falls From Wheelchairs Down Stairways

It is not uncommon for residents with cognitive issues or under the effect of medication and perhaps in a new environment get confused to the extent that they take their wheelchair into situations which are dangerous including falls down curbs, or stairways causing serious injuries and fractures.

Falls From Wheelchairs From Ramp

Falls From Wheelchairs From Ramp

Falls From Wheelchairs From Ramps

Another time persons in wheelchairs are at high risk for injury is when they are on a ramp of any sort usually to enter or exist a building or to alight a vehicle.  There are many things than can go wrong.  If it is an electric wheelchair it can move a drive off the ramp causing the resident to fall with the chair on top.   If the wheelchair not powered the person pushing the wheelchair on the ramp may lose their footing or balance or may not have enough strength to control the chair with the person in the chair leading to falls and many times fractures.

Falls from Wheelchairs are Risk During Patient Lift Transfers

Falls from Wheelchairs are Risk During Patient Lift Transfers

Falls From Wheelchairs During Transfers

One of the most common way a person falls from their wheelchair or into the chair is during transfers from patient lifts such as hoyer lifts used to lift the resident.   There are several ways the person can fall including slipping out of the sling on the patient lift, a lift that tips or is not set up properly, or a wheelchair that moves from under a resident due to wheels that are not safely locked.

Information About Falls from Wheelchairs

Falls from wheelchairs are so common that there is actually an ICD-9 billing code for that type of injury.  Accidental fall from wheelchair:

Short description: Fall from wheelchair.

ICD-9-CM E884.3 is a billable medical code that can be used to indicate a diagnosis on a reimbursement claim, however, E884.3 should only be used for claims with a date of service on or before September 30, 2015. For claims with a date of service on or after October 1, 2015, use an equivalent ICD-10-CM code (or codes).

According to a study wheelchair rider injury, performed by the Veterans Administration, VA, the categories group incidents of falls from wheelchairs according to apparent precipitating causes rather than outcomes.

Tips and Falls covers most of the incidents that include a tip or fall; incidents originate from exceeding the limits of a) the wheelchair’s stability on the ground, and/or b) the rider’s sitting stability in the wheelchair.

Component Failures includes incidents in which component failure was reported as a cause, including incidents that result in a tip or fall, and excluding incidents in vehicles or on lifts.

Other Incidents includes five types of incidents that were studied, but did not yield statistically significant results that help to guide wheelchair design and selection. These are:

  • Hit By a Car while riding in a wheelchair,
  • Transportation/Tie-Down incidents occurring while traveling in a vehicle,
  • Van or Bus Lift incidents,
  • Collision with an Immovable Object while riding in a wheelchair, and
  • Injurious Contact with the Wheelchair itself.
Get Accountability for Falls from Wheelchairs

For injuries related to falls from wheelchairs or other fractures or fall injuries contact Elder Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.  There is no fee unless there is a verdict or settlement offer from the wrongdoer.

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