Wrongful Death From Falls Due to Elder Neglect
There are many types of elder neglect that can lead to injuries and wrongful death from falls being the leading one. There are many situations when a resident of a nursing home, assisted living or other elder care facility is at risk of falls. There advanced age or diminished physical or mental capacity or need for rehabilitation helps create situations where falls may be more likely such as falls from patient lifts, wheelchairs, due to medications or existing injury or disability.
Information About Wrongful Death From Falls
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, about 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls. About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures. Falls result in disability, functional decline and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
One of the more serious types of fall injuries are head and neck injuries. Often residents are very frail and fall from lifts, chairs, or even the height of a bed can cause serious skull and head injuries. The swelling on the brain usually from a subdural hematoma often needs surgery such as a craniotomy to relieve the pressure and swelling. Serious falls can lead to permanent traumatic brain injury, TBI or death.
Another cause of death is related to a series of conditions related to fall injuries, such as pelvic and hip fractures. The medication, lack of mobility, stress on the system, respiratory distress and pain all lead up to a cardiac arrest.
Wrongful Death From Falls Are Preventable Accidents
According to federal law residents in nursing homes need to be assessed for risks and measures taken to protect the vulnerable adults from foreseeable accidents and related injuries such as falls, medication errors, abuse, and others. One of the more common ways residents suffer life threatening injuries is due to being dropped or falls from Hoyer type patient lifts used for transfers from bed to wheelchair and other mobility uses. Falls from wheelchairs when not in transfer are also risks due to residents slipping from chairs when not secured, tipping of the chair, curbs, ramps and stairs.
The CDC, offer the following tips on prevention of falls in nursing homes:
- Assessing patients after a fall to identify and address risk factors and treat the underlying medical conditions.
- Educating staff about fall risk factors and prevention strategies.
- Reviewing prescribed medicines to assess their potential risks and benefits and to minimize use.
- Making changes in the nursing home environment to make it easier for residents to move around safely. Such changes include putting in grab bars, adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights, and installing handrails in the hallways.
- Providing patients with hip pads that may prevent a hip fracture if a fall occurs.
- Exercise programs can improve balance, strength, walking ability, and physical functioning among nursing home residents. However, such programs do not appear to reduce falls.
- Vitamin D supplementation has been shown in a number of studies to reduce falls in nursing home residents. However, vitamin D as a fall intervention remains controversial.
- Teaching residents who are not cognitively impaired behavioral strategies to avoid potentially hazardous situations is a promising approach.
Wrongful Death From Falls Attorney
If you have a loved one who died from abuse and neglect leading to wrongful death contact Kenneth LaBore to get accountability. There is no fee unless there is a verdict or settlement offer from the wrongdoer. Mr. LaBore can be reached directly for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.