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When are falls a sign of abuse?

When the elderly go into nursing homes, they may already have a history of falls or being unbalanced while walking. An elderly person’s gait may change over time, and it’s realistic to expect that they could fall once or twice due to their own actions, like getting up out of a chair or getting out of bed.

While nursing home staff members should know which residents are at a greater risk of falling and hurting themselves, they don’t always know when those residents are new. After reviewing their history and having an incident at the nursing home, they should employ new standards that help minimize the risk of that person falling again. If falls become regular or seem to be particularly harmful, you may want to look into if the nursing home is taking steps to reduce falls and if there is a risk that your loved one could be being abused.

Falls are largely preventable

Nursing homes usually have policies and procedures in place to minimize the risk of falls and to make sure that those who do fall have medical support as soon as possible. For example, if your loved one fell once in the past, they may be listed as a fall risk and have an alarm system placed in their bed. Then, if they try to get up without calling a nurse or staff member, the alarm may go off. This would alert the staff to their movement and help a staff member know that they need to go to that room to check on the individual right away.

With call lights, it’s possible for elderly people and other residents of a nursing home to call for assistance when they need to move positions, get into a wheelchair, get into bed or go to the restroom. If the light goes off and no one comes to help for long enough, a resident may decide to move on their own. In that case, it is possible that they could fall and that the nursing home could be accused of nursing home abuse or neglect.

If your loved one has fallen in a nursing home, it’s a good idea to look into the cause and how the nursing home plans to prevent falls in the future. If they keep occurring, then you may have a strong case against the facility.