Nursing Home Falls Are Common Cause of Preventable Death

Making the important family decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is always difficult. For many families, providing daily care and trying to meet the needs of an ailing parent or grandparent is too overwhelming. Seeking out nursing home care and professional assistance is one solution to meet the growing demands of an aging population. While nursing home care has been under scrutiny for years, new evidence suggests that patents are dying from a preventable cause: negligence and falls.

While a child who falls and breaks a limb can recover quickly, an elderly person could have a more difficult time healing. In some cases, a broken limb or brain injury could eventually lead to death. Our Rock Hill nursing home injury attorneys are experienced in complex cases involving nursing home negligence. We are dedicated to helping our clients protect their rights and recover compensation in the event of an accident or wrongful death.


Every year, thousands of nursing home patients suffer from preventable falls. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 1,800 deaths every year related to fall injuries. Victims can suffer any number of traumas, including broken bones or head injuries. In many of these cases, victims are left with a permanent disability that can further impact the quality of life in their final years.

A broken hip can be deadly for elderly patients. Victims may be forced into a wheelchair, especially if they suffer from other ailments, such as balance or dementia. For elderly patients it is important that they are in a secure environment and that they have appropriate support to prevent falls. This may mean guardrails on the bed, walkers, assistance from employees, or a wheelchair. Patients with dementia should be buckled in so that they do not try to get up and fall and hurt themselves.

According to the Center for Disease Control, falls are twice as likely to occur in nursing homes, rather than among the elderly living on their own or with loved ones. Unfortunately, many of these falls will go under reported. According to studies, 1.5 million nursing-home residents will fall every year.

One reason that falls are so dangerous is that the elderly in nursing homes are already frail and will have a difficult time making a fast recovery. Nursing home conditions can also exacerbate the problem. For many victims, medication can negatively affect coordination or make patients confused. Even though the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 prohibits the use of “chemical restraints” or drugs that suppress ability, more than 1 in 5 patients are given these drugs.

There are many effective ways to prevent falls, including guards, rails, and gates. Nursing homes should have a fall-prevention plan and take all necessary steps to protect patients from falling out of wheelchairs, falling out of their bed, or falling while left unsupervised. Nursing homes that are understaffed will continue to be a risk to patients.

Preventable deaths should never occur in a nursing home when you are investing in the safety and well-being of your loved one. Nursing homes and medical professionals should be held accountable to ensure that patients are getting the protection they deserve.

If your loved one has been harmed by nursing home negligence in North or South Carolina, contact Lee Law Offices 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:
Adult Bed Rails Lead to North Carolina Wrongful Deaths, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 30, 2013

Selecting a Nursing Home: Easy Tips to Make the Right Choice, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, October 13, 2012

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