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Beware of severe or repeated falls in nursing homes

Many nursing residents are frail. They may be in an assisted living facility for this exact reason -- they need help and proper care to stay safe.

Although some nursing home falls can't be prevented, they are too common an occurrence among elderly residents who should be monitored and cared for by trained staff. Of particular concern are single falls that cause significant injury and repeated falls that can also prove to be life changing for residents.

Fall prevention methods

There are many methods that nursing homes can employ to help keep residents from falling. Providing handrails throughout the corridors, keeping the flooring level and providing mobility devices like walkers can all go a long way in keeping residents safe.

Nursing homes can also prevent falls by ensuring that residents have everything they need within reach or a reasonable distance. A senior who is trying to reach a nightstand that is too far from the bed might fall while reaching for it. Making sure that the resident has a way to make it it to the toilet can also help to prevent falls since he or she might not have to take risks to make it there.

Causes of falls in seniors

In some cases, residents might need to be evaluated for fall risks. Medications, cognitive decline and other issues might point to a person being at risk of falling. Residents who have a known fall risk may require personal assistance when they need to move around.

The risks of falls

There are many risks of falls that these residents face. Broken bones, head injuries and spinal cord injuries are three very serious injuries that can occur after a fall. The arms, legs and hips might also suffer from breaks and fractures in a fall.

In many cases, a resident who falls will require medical care. Even if the resident doesn't show signs of an injury right away, it is still a good idea for him or her to have a medical evaluation to check for injuries.

Life after a fall may not be the same for a nursing home resident. A simple fall can make the person feel unsure about their ability to get around. In the case of a hip fracture, full mobility might not be regained. The mobility issues can lead to depression and other serious issues. If the nursing home was at fault for the fall, the senior or their family should pursue options for compensation.

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