Every year, many Iowa nursing home residents are injured or killed due to falls. Falls are a common occurrence in many facilities, but they don’t have to be. Many falls can be avoided if nursing homes use proper fall prevention procedures.
Risk Factors for Falls in Iowa Nursing Homes
There are two main reasons that falls can occur in a nursing home. They can happen because of a patient’s direct actions, or because of issues related to the patient’s environment.
1. Patient Issues That Can Lead to Falls
Many residents are not strong or steady enough to keep themselves from falling. They may have muscle weakness, joint stiffness, or difficulty moving in general. Residents may also suffer from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases that affect their balance. Finally, there are medications that can make residents feel woozy or tired, which can also lead to falls.
They may also feel a need to move because they are in pain. Lying in one spot for too long can cause bed sores and other health issues. A nursing home resident may fall while adjusting their position or moving to a new spot. Many falls occur because residents need to go to the bathroom and there is not enough nursing home staff to help them.
2. Environmental Hazards That Can Lead to Falls
Environmental hazards around the nursing home can also lead to falls. These dangers can include:
- Floors that are wet or slick from cleaning or spills
- Dim lighting in hallways and bathrooms
- Uneven flooring or rugs without proper anti-slip backing
- Improper bed height
How Iowa Nursing Homes Can Prevent Fall Injuries
There are several ways nursing homes in Iowa can prevent injuries from falls.
The first way is to know how likely it is that a resident will fall. Your loved one should be assessed for their fall risk upon first entering the facility. Staff may ask you questions about their medications, history of falls or trips, as well as other information that could help assess the resident’s likelihood of falling. Be as truthful and complete as you can.
If your loved one has been deemed a fall risk, there are several aids that can be used to keep them from falling. Gait belts, which fit around the waist, can be used to support an unsteady resident or catch a resident if they are falling.
If a resident is confined to their bed or a wheelchair, a call bell should be close and available for use at all times. A resident may attempt to get up and move on their own if they can’t summon staff to help them. This is a bad idea when the resident has been deemed a fall risk.
Environmental hazards leading to falls can be avoided by nursing home staff keeping areas tidy and neat. If there are dark hallways or bathrooms, a janitor or staff member needs to be contacted about replacing bulbs or updating light fixtures.
What to Do If Your Loved One Has Fallen in an Iowa Nursing Home
If your loved one has suffered injuries because of a fall, and you believe the fall occurred because the nursing home was negligent, you should contact an Iowa nursing home attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you determine how to proceed with a personal injury claim against the facility.
To learn more about how RSH Legal can help you and your loved one, request a copy of the Law Guide to Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Claims at FightingForFairness.com.