What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents in Nursing Homes?

Slip and fall accidents could happen unexpectedly to anyone. However, they are reportedly more common among the elderly and are the leading type of accident in long term healthcare facilities for the elderly. Moreover, the injuries sustained are usually severe and require a long time to heal. A minor accident in an elderly person could result in life-threatening complications and injuries such as broken bones, sprains, hip fractures and bruises. Therefore, assisted living facilities must take serious measures to prevent it from happening. If You or a loved one has fallen in a long-term care facility for the elderly, it is imperative to reach out to nursing home slip and fall attorneys for legal assistance and rightful compensation. Some causes of these types of accidents in nursing homes can include:

Understaffed facilities
Some facilities try to reduce their operational costs and expenses by reducing the number of nurses and other healthcare workers, and the elderly may try to navigate the areas by themselves. Moreover, the remaining staff will be overworked and tired while performing their duties and this could lead to mistakes. They may also be too engaged to properly train the new employees.

The design of the facility
The physical design, maintenance, layout and the use of a facility can determine whether it is safe for the elderly or not. For instance, facilities that have insufficient lighting, missing handrails, guardrails or bed rails pose a danger to the elderly. Other environmental hazards in nursing homes include carpets that are improperly secured, wet surfaces and objects that have been carelessly left in hallways such as carts and food trays. Poorly maintained or improperly fitted wheelchairs or beds that are too high could increase chances of accidents.

Health reasons
Some elderly persons may have a high risk of falling due to health conditions such as dementia, decreased mobility, impaired vision, lack of balance and loss of strength. Other human factors that can contribute to accidents include mental alertness, continence level and medications.

Poor planning and care
Sometimes the long-term care facilities may fail to properly take care of their elderly patients, resulting in accidents. For instance, there can be a delay in housekeeping which may leave food, drinks and even urine on the floor, increasing the risk of slipping and falling. Inadequate supervision and poor care plans can also cause medication errors, resulting in accidents.
Accidents can be prevented in long-term care facilities by keeping floors and hallways free of objects, strengthening patients’ muscles through physiotherapy and assisting them with ambulation through personal assistance or with walking aids such as walkers. Facilities should also have low beds, floor pads and safety cushions. The staff should also implement toileting schedule routines.

Accidents in assisted living facilities can happen because of being understaffed, poor care and planning routines, the design of the facility and due to health conditions among the elderly. Assisted living facilities need to implement strict measures to protect the elderly from common falling accidents. If a loved one has been involved in such an incident, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney for legal assistance and rightful compensation for the pain and suffering.