When you think of someone being mistreated in a nursing home, your mind might turn to physical abuse. This is understandable, but there are other things that you also need to watch for. One thing that might signal that something is amiss in a nursing home is falling among the residents. Some might argue that the elderly population is unstable on their feet for the most part, but this isn't an excuse for falls in nursing homes.
One of the duties of a nursing home is to keep residents safe. An occasional fall by a resident might be understandable, but when falls are frequent occurrences, they can signal chronic neglect of the residents. When a person goes into a nursing home -- and periodically again throughout their time in the facility -- they must be evaluated for fall risks. If they are at a greater risk of falling than a normal adult, special precautions should be established for their care.
There are many reasons why a nursing home resident might fall. They may have gait problems or weak leg muscles. There might be slick floors, uneven walking surfaces, lack of handrails, beds positioned too high, improperly maintained wheelchairs and hazards on the floors. In some cases, the cause is a medication that makes the person unsteady or dizzy.
When an environmental factor, such as wet floors or missing handrails, is the cause of a fall, it should be corrected immediately. There isn't a reason to delay correcting something that can harm the residents. If the person's own condition lead to the fall, they might need mobility assistance in the form of a walker or someone to help them remain steady.
For the victims of a fall in a nursing home, there is often a lengthy recovery. These individuals might have a right to seek compensation if the accident was the result of negligence from the nursing home staff.