Injuries related to falls are growing in incidence, prevalence, and severity, and they are only expected to continue to grow as our populations’ average life expectancy continues to rise. In fact, injuries relating to falling are the leading cause of accidental death in older adults over the age of 65. In a nursing home, falls are quite frequent due to the fact that the most residents living in the facility are elderly. After age 60, there is a loss of 1 percent of strength per year. There is also a shift in the normal center of gravity, increased postural sway, decreased overall reaction time, and slowing coordination.
However, besides age, there are many other common factors that are associated with increased fall risk. These include:
- History of falls
- Pre-existing conditions
- Vision deficits
- Hearing deficits
History of Falls:
If a nursing home resident falls more than once, it becomes significant risk factor for the likelihood of repeated falls. It is important when completing a risk assessment plan that a patient’s history is taken into account. However, the history may be unreliable if the patient or nursing home failed to report the incident. It is crucial that proper information be recorded to manage patients who have already fallen in the past.
Research has shown that conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, postural hypertension, and peripheral neuropathy all increase the risk of falls. Some diseases, such as osteoporosis, do not increase the risk of falls, but are correlated to the severity of injury after a fall.
Vision and Hearing Deficits:
Elderly individuals often have decreased visual acuity and peripheral field. They also have decreased contrast sensitivity to colors, and it becomes more difficult to perceive depth. Loss of visual sharpness can cause an individual to step incorrectly, trip, or stumble, which can all lead to falls. Hearing becomes impaired due to the decrease in speed of nerve signals from the brain to the ears, making it difficult for the body to react to change. Decreases in both visual and audio acuity can cause a nursing home patient to be unstable and fall.
The nursing home should be aware of any and all conditions that may increase a nursing home resident’s probability of falling. Individuals who suffer injuries due to fall in Michigan nursing home do have legal rights. Many of times, the fall is caused due to the negligent care of the nurse or caregiver, not enough supervision, or environmental hazards such as incorrect bed height. If the resident falls due to those circumstances or any other negligent act from a nurse or caregiver in a Michigan nursing home, it can give rise to a nursing home neglect lawsuit. Call our office now at (800) 606-1717 to speak with one of our experienced nursing home injury lawyers. We will represent you under our No Fee Promise, meaning you do not pay any legal fees until we win or settle your case.