Nursing homes have an obligation to their clients. They need to take steps to keep the residents safe. In the winter, that includes keeping floors dry and ice out of community areas where people could fall and get hurt.
Medical facilities need to be held to a higher standard than others, because they are taking care of vulnerable individuals. They are aware of how serious a fall could be for an elderly person, so making an effort to remove ice and snow is essential throughout the winter and spring months.
What are some ways that nursing homes can make residents safer in the winter and spring?
The first, and perhaps most obvious, thing that they can do is to make sure all walkways are either covered or cleared of ice and snow prior to allowing any resident to go outside. This means that walkways should be gritty and textured to avoid slip-and-fall accidents and that they should be completely clear. Even a small patch of ice could be dangerous or deadly to an elder, so it’s essential to clear it completely.
Another thing that these facilities should do is require an aide or partner to go outside with those who want to. This could be an aide who monitors one or two residents in a courtyard area or a family member or friend who is willing to go outside with them. The goal is to make sure there is always someone with the vulnerable person, so they can get help if an accident does happen.
Finally, a third way to prevent falls and injuries is to keep the floors inside dry. As people come and go while visiting their loved ones, they may drag in snow and water. Textured rugs may help prevent falls, as can mopping and cleaning up wet patches regularly.
What should you do if you or your loved one slip and fall in a nursing home?
If you or your loved one slips and falls because of ice or snow that the facility should have taken care of, then you may be in a position to file a premises liability claim. It’s a good idea to note down what happened, to ask for video footage or witness statements, and to take the time to get medical care if you or your loved one do fall as a result of slick floors or ice on walkways around the nursing home.