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Is a fall the responsibility of a nursing home facility?

A fall, even from the same level rather than a great height, could cause severe injury to an older adult. One in four older adults will suffer a fall in any given year, making them a major source of concern for family members. 

Worries about fall risks are a common reason families decide to move someone into a nursing home or assisted living facility. They know that their loved ones cannot safely go up and down the stairs anymore and that they need help with showering or getting dressed every day. 

Unfortunately, nursing homes are often the location of severe falls that have life-altering consequences for older adults. Is a fall just a side effect of being old or is it a sign of nursing home neglect?

Proper staffing and quick responses can prevent most falls

An older adult at high risk of a fall needs constant medical support. In a nursing home environment, they should feel confident requesting assistance if they need it to take a shower, change their clothing or move to a new space, like a common room where they can socialize with their neighbors. 

Nursing homes can substantially reduce the likelihood of their residents getting hurt in a fall by keeping enough people on staff to quickly respond to resident calls. They can also help by providing assistive devices or bedpans so that someone doesn’t have to get out of bed if they absolutely need to go to the bathroom. Even physical therapy could help someone reduce their risk of a future fall. 

A fall could mean broken bones, a brain injury or severe pain for a vulnerable older adult, which is why it is so important for nursing homes to be proactive about preventing them. Identifying signs of negligence in a nursing home could help you decide if you need to take action when a loved one falls.