According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.5 million people 65 or older live in nursing homes. Nursing homes are full of people who are usually reaching the ends of their lives. They are often in a more weakened or confused state than younger people. This leads to an increased number of accidents and injuries.
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20% of all fatalities from falls take place in nursing homes. Between half and three-quarters of residents in nursing homes fall every year, and most of them will fall more than once.
An estimated 1,800 people in nursing homes die every year from falls, and 10% to 20% of all falls from residents in nursing homes end in serious injuries. These accidents can cause more than physical injury. They can lead to emotional and mental decline. Some people become depressed because of a reduced quality of life and increased fear throughout daily life.
Falls occur far more often in nursing homes. This is because other factors can contribute to a person falling. People in nursing homes are generally weaker than others and may even already have a pre-existing chronic illness or difficulty walking.
Some of them tend to become confused and experience memory loss, making it more difficult for them to take care of themselves. All these qualities increase the likelihood of someone falling.
About 24% of the falls in nursing homes are caused by a pre-existing difficulty with mobility. Patients may have a hard time picking up their feet or have issues with their gait. This can cause instability, which quickly leads to falling.
Outside Factors Leading to Accidents
Issues with the building itself are also a leading cause of falls in nursing homes. Wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, and defective wheelchairs can all cause a resident to suffer a fall.
Many residents are also on various medications. Certain medications can affect response time, vision, or have a plethora of other negative side effects that hinder mobility even more.
To help reduce the number of falls in nursing homes, it is important to keep track of where and how a patient falls, so you can fix that area. You can also add in assists to the building, like grab bars and handrails, so the residents can be more stable while they move around.
Decreasing the Likelihood of Accident
To help build a resident’s strength, some nursing homes have started exercise classes. While this does not directly reduce the number of falls, strengthening residents could help them be more stable. Vitamin D supplements can also help strengthen someone, reducing the likelihood of suffering a dangerous fall.
It also helps to keep the employees educated and aware of the risks and rates of falls. They should know how to take care of someone after a fall or how to recognize the signs of someone who is unsteady on their feet.
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If you still have questions regarding the accident of a loved one, contact our nursing home accident attorney in Denver for help.