Nursing homes have a legal obligation to keep residents safe and prevent accidents. Nursing homes are charged to care for residents who have physical and cognitive needs. Many residents require supervision or physical assistance to ensure their daily needs are met. Therefore, in many cases, nursing homes may be liable when a resident suffers a preventable fall. The Wieand Law Firm, a PA nursing home law firm, represents nursing home residents and their families when a nursing home fails to provide necessary care and the resident suffers harm.
Federal Regulations and Falls
Nursing homes are governed by state and federal regulations. These rules mandate minimum standards that nursing homes must follow to participate in government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. According to a PA nursing home law firm, these regulations require nursing homes to provide adequate supervision and assistance to prevent accidents. A nursing home lawyer Philadelphia depends on represents your family and helps you seek justice when a preventable fall results in serious injury.
Care Standard: §483.25(d)(2) Accidents
This regulation requires nursing homes to provide an environment that is free of accident hazards and to provide supervision and assistive devices to prevent avoidable accidents. A nursing home lawyer Philadelphia trusts explains that this regulation requires the nursing home to prevent accidents by taking the following steps:
- Identify accident hazards and risks
- Evaluate accident hazards and risks
- Take steps to reduce hazards and risks
- Monitor these steps for effectiveness
As part of this rule, nursing homes are required to implement comprehensive fall-prevention plans for every resident who is at risk for falls or who has a history of previous falls. These care plans must include measures that the nursing home has taken to prevent falls. The care plan should be routinely updated and reviewed. The plans should also be reviewed if the resident sustains a new fall.
When facilities fail to follow regulations to prevent accidents, they may be liable for a residents fall. In these situations, you can file a nursing home neglect lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries and hold the nursing home accountable for their failures.
Care Standard: §483.12: Right to Freedom from Neglect
This regulation states that residents have the right to be free from abuse and neglect. Neglect occurs when the nursing home fails to provide the necessary structures and processes to meet the needs of the residents. This may include failure to provide the necessary staff, supplies, training, services, policies, or supervision to care for the resident’s needs.
Neglect is a primary driver of resident falls in a nursing home. Some examples where neglect is the culprit of a fall injury may include:
- A nursing home fails to provide adequate nurse aide (C.N.A.) staffing. A nurse aide is too busy to respond the call light of a resident who is at high risk for falls. That resident attempts to transfer independently and subsequently falls, breaking a hip.
- A nursing home uses agency nursing staff but fails to provide training or orientation. The agency nursing staff is not aware that a resident is a high fall risk and does not provide the necessary assistance during a transfer. As a result, the resident falls and suffers a subdural hematoma. The resident later passes away from this injury.
When a nursing home neglects to provide for the resident’s safety needs and a serious fall injury occurs, it’s time to contact a PA nursing home law firm for a case review and consultation.
Standards of Care Not Met
When you admit a loved one to a care facility, you trust that they are going to receive professional, appropriate care. However, nursing homes are notorious for not providing the care that elderly resident deserve. Many times, a preventable fall occurs when nursing homes fail to adhere to established care standards and a horrible injury occurs.
When the standard of care is not followed and a serious injury occurs as a result, it’s time to involve a PA nursing home law firm. By contacting a nursing home lawyer Philadelphia depends on, you can seek compensation for your loved one’s fall injuries by filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit.
When is a Fall “AVOIDABLE”
Not all falls are avoidable, but many are. In fact, it is estimated that over one-third of all falls are preventable. An avoidable fall occurs when the facility fails to take certain necessary measures to prevent it from occurring. For example, a fall may be avoidable if:
- The facility failed to identify a tripping hazard and take steps to prevent falls from occurring
- The facility failed to identify a resident as being a falls risk. Because they were not identified as being at risk for falls, the facility did not implement steps to prevent falls.
- The facility knew the resident was at risk for falls but failed to consistently implement a plan of care to prevent falls.
Preventable falls often occur when a facility is understaffed and fails to provide the adequate supervision and support to residents. Nursing homes that understaff often fail to provide for resident safety needs. Many times, this results in serious fall accidents. Nursing homes that understaff and fail to prevent an avoidable fall may be liable for neglect.
A PA nursing home law firm can file a nursing home neglect lawsuit when an avoidable fall results in serious injury. Contact a nursing home lawyer Philadelphia relies on at the Wieand Law Firm to discuss your legal options.
When is a Resident at Risk for Falls?
Residents living in nursing homes frequently have multiple problems that place them at a higher risk for falls. These problems may include cognitive loss, balance issues, medication use, and medical issues that increase their fall risk.
A nursing home should perform a clinical risk assessment that considers these factors. The resident’s fall risk should be re-assessed at admission, quarterly, and with any change in condition, including after any fall. The facility should then use this assessment to evaluate the resident’s risk of falling and to determine appropriate interventions to keep them safe.
Too often, facilities fail to adequately assess or re-assess a resident’s risk for falls. And many nursing homes fail to use the assessment to put steps into place to keep the resident safe. Failure to properly assess and plan for a resident’s fall risk can result in the resident sustaining a serious, preventable fall.
Was My Loved One’s Accident Preventable?
Determining if a nursing home is liable for a fall takes multiple factors into consideration. The Wieand Law Firm, a PA nursing home law firm, will examine the following questions to determine if your loved one’s fall was avoidable:
- Did the facility identify the resident as “at risk for falls?”
- What actions or interventions did the nursing home take to prevent falls
- Did the resident have a history of prior falls?
- What actions did the nursing home take to prevent additional falls?
- Was the care plan revied and updated regularly and after each fall?
- Were the fall preventions working and appropriate to meet the resident’s needs?
- Did the facility consistently implement the interventions?
- Were there additional steps that the nursing home could have taken to prevent falls?
Neglect from Understaffing
Preventable falls frequently stem from understaffing. A PA nursing home law firm can analyze a facility’s staffing patters to determine if understaffing may have contributed to your loved one’s falls. If your loved one’s fall was due to understaffing, consider filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit to seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries. A nursing home lawyer Philadelphia trusts at the Wieand Law Firm has years of experience in these types of cases and can help you get the justice and the compensation that you deserve.
Neglect from Inadequate Training
Nursing homes often fail to adequately train staff to meet and respond to resident needs. Many residents who reside at nursing homes have problems such as dementia, mobility disorders, and communication disorders. These medical issues demand well-trained staff who understand who to care for residents with these needs. Contact a PA nursing home law firm if you believe the staff at your loved one’s nursing home did not have the proper training to care for them, and your loved one was harmed as a result of this undertraining.
What Steps Should a Nursing Home Take to Avoid Falls?
Nursing homes should implement fall-prevention care plans to reduce a resident’s risk of falls. The approach to fall prevention must be individualized and specific to that resident’s needs. A one-approach-fits-all mentality is not appropriate. Some commonly used interventions for fall-prevention in nursing homes include:
Supervision and monitoring
Residents who are at risk for falls often require staff assistance to remain safe. The facility should provide enough staffing to meet the resident’s needs and reduce their risk of falls.
For example, a resident may need staff to check on them hourly ensure their needs are met. In facilities with inadequate staffing, residents often try to complete tasks independently and suffer a fall. Simple checks by staff can help assure that a resident is comfortable, engaged in activity, and remains safe.
If your loved one feel from inadequate monitoring, reach out to a nursing home lawyer Philadelphia relies on to discuss if you may be able to file a nursing home neglect lawsuit.
Toileting schedules are very effective fall prevention programs. A facility would monitor a resident’s continence and incontinence for several days and learn the resident’s patterns for toileting. Then the facility would initiate a program to schedule assistance at times the resident typically needs to use the restroom. This intervention helps to meet a resident’s toileting needs and reduces attempts to use the toilet unassisted.
Low Beds and Floor Mats
Low beds and padded floor mats can help keep residents safe from injury if they are at risk for falls out of the bed. However, these interventions are not appropriate for every patient or situation. For example, a floor mat should be removed from the floor when the resident is awake and out of bed, as it may increase their risk of falls from tripping.
Bed and chair alarms can be implemented to sound when a resident attempts to stand up. This can provide staff with an auditory indicator that the resident may need assistance to prevent a fall.
Common Injuries from Nursing Home Falls
Falls in a nursing home can result in significant injuries. These injuries can result in a loss of physical function and a dramatically decreased quality of life. Some serious injuries even lead to fatalities. Common injuries sustained in nursing home falls include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Subdural hematoma (brain bleed)
If your loved one suffered one of these injuries in a nursing home fall, contact a PA nursing home law firm about a nursing home neglect lawsuit. A nursing home lawyer Philadelphia trusts can help you pursue compensation for the harm they experienced in the fall.
My Loved One Has Passed Away from Nursing Home Neglect. Can I Still Sue?
YES. Tragically, nursing home falls often affect the most fragile members of our society. And some residents who fall experience an avalanche of health declines that culminate in death. In these situations, the loved ones of the resident are able to pursue a nursing home neglect lawsuit as the surviving kin of the victim. This type of lawsuit is known as a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact the Wieand Law Firm, a PA nursing home law firm that handles these type of negligence cases, about getting compensation for your devastating loss.
Filing a Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit
If you believe your loved one was the victim of negligence at a nursing home, contact the Wieand Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Our law firm represents injured victims of nursing home negligence and their families.
Contingency Fee Agreement
Because we believe in justice for all victims of nursing home neglect, our firm uses a contingency fee agreement. This means that we only earn a fee if we win money for your case. Our clients say that this agreement gives them peace of mind, knowing that they can afford a qualified attorney without the hassle and worry of paying monthly legal fees.
Take Timely Action
Contact the Wieand Law Firm today at 215-666-7777 to speak directly with an attorney for your free case review and evaluation.