According to a report from U.S. News and World Report seniors in nursing homes are most at risk of head injuries resulting from falls.
Our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys know that seniors fall frequently in long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, our attorneys also know that older individuals have trouble reducing the force of a fall by using their arms.
This problem results in head injuries more that 33% of the time a senior experiences a fall in a nursing home.
Researchers reviewed video footage of over 227 falls suffered by seniors while in long-term care facilities and found that seniors hit their heads thirty-seven percent of the time. In 63 percent of the incidents seniors struck their heads on the floor. The floor was frequently fairly hard – such as linoleum or tile. Another 16 percent struck their head on a piece of furniture and 13 percent hit their head on a wall.
The research in this area is particularly interesting since other studies have shown that young people rarely strike their heads when they fall.
In the case of seniors, the chance of impact with their head is much greater when the individual falls forward than when they fall backwards. The video footage showed that attempts to use arms to break falls were largely ineffective.
Researchers could not determine precisely why hand impact was not effective, factors such as poor arm placement and non-optimal muscle strength and muscle activation seem to be significant factors.
Studies suggest a number of places that could be improved upon. Some improvements include exercises to improve the strength of upper limbs and procedures to detect brain injuries caused by falls.Other suggestions involved creating a safer environment. This could be done by adding a soft flooring sub-layer that would cushion a fall. Often, understaffing or a lack of proper nursing home supervision can result in a loved one suffering a serious or fatal fall accident.
According to nihseniorhealth.gov, the risk of falling increases significantly with age.
In addition, the injuries caused by a fall get progressively more serious as age increases.
The National Institute of Health recommends particular devices to prevent falling. One of the easiest ways to prevent falling is to utilize a cane. Cans may make you feel more stable when you walk.
Canes may have different types of hand grips to fit the shape of your hand and some canes are adjustable in length. If you do decide to utilize a cane, be sure to have a physical therapist assist you in how to walk with it correctly.
Depending on your needs a physical therapist may recommend you use a walker instead of a cane. A Walker assists you in keeping your balance because it provides you with a wider base of support.
An additional device that may reduce falls is known as a reacher. A reacher is a lightweight and simple tool that allows you to reach items on high shelves and pick things up from the floor without bending over – this can greatly reduce the likelihood of a fall.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-800-887-1965 in North or South Carolina.
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Rubbernecking on Carolina Roads Causes Additional Traffic Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Blog, October 25, 2013.
Railroad Crossing Accidents a Hidden Danger in South Carolina, North Carolina Personal Injury Blog, October 8, 2013.