Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

How to Protect a Loved One from Falling in a Nursing Home

Published on Sep 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

When we place a loved one in a nursing home or long term care facility, we trust that their basic needs will be taken care of—that they’ll be kept well-fed, clean, healthy, and safe. Due to the unfortunate fact that most facilities are understaffed or have an excessive amount of residents, however, it’s impossible for staff members to constantly keep an eye on every resident. Falls happen in nursing homes on a daily basis and can lead to devastating health consequences.

According to 2013 data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2.5 million older people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall injuries every year. Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized due to fall injuries. In the elderly, fall injuries commonly result in head injuries and hip fractures—both of which can lead to serious surgeries or life-threatening complications.

Despite the fact that we can’t always be there for our loved ones when they’re in a nursing home or long term care facility, there are steps we can take to ensure the facility is doing everything they can to prevent falls. Here are 5 things we can do to help prevent falls in nursing homes:

Request a Risk Assessment

As part of a resident’s health and safety evaluation, a resident’s family can request for the facility to perform what’s called a risk assessment. The resident is assessed for signs of confusion or disorientation which may lead to falls or other risks. The resident’s medications are also evaluated, along with their room and surroundings to assess if anything needs to be changed.

Insist on Yearly Eyesight Checks

After a certain age, our eyesight tends to undergo significant changes. It’s important to have your loved one’s eyesight checked every year. Proper-strength eyeglasses or contact lenses are also a must. Make sure that your loved one gradually adjusts to any major changes in prescription strength. Having to quickly adjust to a change in eyeglass strength can lead to a fall.

Insist on Strong Bones and Joints

If your loved one is able to stay mobile, recommend that strength and flexibility exercises are included in their daily routine. Exercise is crucial for senior bone health, and flexible joints can help prevent falls in numerous ways. The impact from a fall can also be greatly reduced when a resident is stronger. To help prevent osteoporosis, ensure that your loved one is also getting enough calcium and Vitamin D.

Inspect Bathroom Safety Measures

Most long term facilities utilize safe shower stalls and shower chairs, etc., but it’s a good idea to ask for an impromptu tour of the facility every now and then to make sure. Make sure the showers are wide enough to safely contain a shower chair and that they’re well-scrubbed as to avoid slippery surfaces.

Ensure Proper Lighting is in Place

A brightly lit room can help residents find their way around easier. Make sure that your loved one has easy access to their room’s light switches as well as access to a bedside lamp or light switch that’s easy to locate. Emergency lights should also be adequately in place.

Sunlight, if available, is always the best source of light. Even if the facility requests that all window blinds be shut to reduce cooling costs, request that they be opened for the majority of the morning and early afternoon. Natural sunlight is easier to see by, and can also significantly boost resident morale.

Most long term care facility directors and staff members are happy to assist family members with any questions or concerns regarding a loved one. Spend as much time as possible visiting your loved one, of course, but also get to know the staff members. Make friends with someone who works there who can keep an eye on your loved one when you’re not there. This lets you get help quickly if you should ever need it.

If, for whatever reason, you feel your loved one’s nursing home or facility is not doing everything in their power to properly care for your loved one or if you suspect elder abuse, there are legal options you should be aware of. Louisville, KY nursing home abuse lawyer Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices is happy to answer any questions you may have or set up an appointment to discuss these options. Call our expert personal injury attorneys to find out more.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

Multi-Vehicle Accidents: Who Pays for Chain Reaction Crashes?

You’re driving down the road on your way to work in heavy traffic. Everything seems standard for your morning commute until you’re sideswiped by a passing vehicle and subsequently rear-ended by the car behind you when you brake. Emergency responders arrive at the scene, and you’re treated for your injuries and told to follow up […]

Read More

5 Questions to Ask During a Free Case Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are looking to pursue compensation from the at-fault party, you may not know where to turn. Fortunately, personal injury lawyers can help accident victims file a strong claim that proves a monetary award is owed.

Read More

How to Stay Safe Around Pools This Summer

As we’re now just past the Fourth of July holiday weekend, summer is in full swing. With the 2021 heatwave affecting most of the continental U.S., pool owners all around the country are taking full advantage of their backyard oases to beat the heat. Those without pools looking to take a dip in the water […]

Read More