In September 2008, the L.A. Times reported that a sixty year old patient died due to a head injury after an improperly maintained mechanical lift broke and fell on her. The times further reported that the lift, that was supposed to be inspected monthly, was not checked or maintained in five years. The care center was fined the highest amount allowed by law at a total of $100,000. A far cry from what the family of the woman lost.
The wrongful death or injury of a loved one due to nursing home falls in North Carolina is a tragically common occurrence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that by the year 2030 approximately thirty million elderly people will live in nursing homes. The CDC also reports that nearly 1,800 people die each year from nursing home falls.
In fact, the average 100-bed nursing facility experiences approximately 200 falls per year. That means everyone fell twice! Of course, some of our most vulnerable older adults are given over to the care of a nursing home because they or their loved ones are not physically capable of providing for their care. But, with the average cost of a nursing home stay at $30,000 or more, you a right to expect that a nursing home will provide the proper care and staffing to help prevent falls among the residents.
Finding a good nursing home can be a daunting task to be sure your loved one is getting the best possible care. However, doing your research will be well worth it. When searching for a care center for a family member Consumer Reports advises that you could have a better chance of receiving excellent care from a not-for-profit home rather than a for-profit facility. Unfortunately, such homes are few and far between and the good ones will likely have a long waiting list.
Nationwide, half of all nursing homes are run by large chain corporations and two-thirds are for-profit companies.
Consumer Reports also advise to read the care facility’s inspection surveys; the facility should have them readily available to you. Visit the facility and observe how many people are in their beds or confined to their rooms; this probably is not a good sign. Ask about turnover. If a facility has gone through several administrators or many employees that could mean that your family member would be better cared for elsewhere.
An injury from a nursing home fall can have many ill effects on an individual. Not only may a fall result in further loss of function and increased disabilities, it may also cause depression, social isolation and helplessness. Family members being cared for in a nursing home are already fragile. Many of them suffer from debilitating illnesses or can not function by themselves in some way. Although these conditions make it possible for individuals to fall, falls may also be contributed to the nursing home itself.
If you have concerns about the conditions of a nursing home, or are dealing with a case of North Carolina nursing home abuse, call Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Serving all of South and North Carolina, including Thomasville, Hickory, Concord and Charlotte.