Falls at Iowa nursing homes are an all-too-common occurrence and might be the result of negligence by the nursing home or its staff. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls results in a serious injury. If your loved one has been injured in a fall at a nursing home, here are some things to consider:
Why Falls Happen at Iowa Nursing Homes
First, let’s discuss why falls might happen. There are a number of different reasons why a nursing home resident could fall and suffer an injury.
Environmental hazards in nursing homes play a big part in falls by the elderly each year. Slippery floors, bad lighting, incorrect bed height, and other dangers can all be causes of slips and trips. The nursing home staff are supposed to keep these dangers to a minimum, as it is each resident’s right to live in a clean and safe space. However, many of the falls in nursing homes can be attributed to these environmental hazards.
Another reason for falls could be the inattentiveness of nursing home staff. Staff are often so overworked that they do not have time to help residents with getting up or toileting. This inattentiveness to residents often leads to serious falls.
The majority of nursing home residents are on medication. However, some care facilities use medication to keep patients calm. This is known as “chemical restraint” and can be a form of nursing home abuse. These medications can make residents groggy and unstable on their feet, which can lead to falls. If you suspect your loved one is being given medication as a chemical restraint, speak with an Iowa attorney experienced in handling Iowa nursing home abuse cases.
After a Fall Occurs at an Iowa Nursing Home Care Facility
If your loved one has fallen, you typically will receive a phone call from nursing home staff alerting you to the injury. Your loved one will be taken to the emergency room for treatment. Once he or she has healed enough to be released, your loved one will be returned to the nursing care facility.
Follow up with the nursing home administrator about your loved one’s care plan. The care plan may need to be adjusted to include safety measures designed to prevent falls in the future. Don’t be afraid to demand answers in connection with the fall.
When Are Falls at an Iowa Nursing Home Due to Negligence?
Not all resident falls in a nursing home are the result of abuse or negligence. Accidents happen. It can be difficult to know whether a fall is an accident or whether it’s the result of negligence. Here are some questions to ask your loved one and/or the nursing home staff:
If your loved one was injured during a move, were they moved improperly?
Did the nursing home staff use the proper technique? Was your loved one moved without a lift, although it would have been appropriate to use one? Did one person try to move your loved one when it would have been safer for two people to do it?
If your loved one fell, were there any environmental hazards that could have led to the fall?
Was the floor wet? Was your loved one’s bed too high to get out of safely? Was there debris on the floor that they tripped over?
Did your loved one fall because they were unattended or unsupervised by staff?
Was your loved one trying to get to the toilet by themselves, even though their care plan says they must always have help to the bathroom? Was your loved one wandering around unattended and fell?
Proving that a nursing home was negligent is easier said than done. If you suspect negligence, it’s best to get an experienced nursing home abuse attorney involved as soon as possible.
If you have questions after your loved one suffered injuries from a fall at an Iowa care facility, call RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1542.