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Nursing Home Slip and Falls: Accident or Negligence?

Watch a child move down the sidewalk. The child runs, skips and jumps. If he falls, he bounces up and keeps going. Compare the child to an elderly woman. The older adult walks carefully. She holds on to handrails. If she falls, she may not be able to get up.

As we age, the physical changes in our body make us more likely to slip and fall. These changes also make us more likely to suffer a serious injury when we do fall. Each year, as many as three-quarters of nursing home residents are injured in falls. About 1,800 die annually from slip and fall injuries. It’s not just a matter of clumsiness; one-third of nursing home falls involve residents who can’t get up or walk without help.

How do you know if a nursing home slip and fall is an accident or neglect?

Residents of Philadelphia nursing homes are frailer than the general population. Because these residents can be seriously injured by a simple slip and fall, all nursing homes have a special duty to prevent slips and falls among their residents. When a nursing home doesn’t meet its duty to prevent slip and fall injuries, it is negligent.

Philadelphia nursing homes can reduce the risk of a slip and fall injury by installing handrails in hallways, restrooms, and common areas. Restrooms should have raised toilet seats, grab bars and non-skid flooring. Floors should be kept in good shape and any wet floors should be clearly marked. All carpeting should be tightly woven to prevent falls. Staff should respond quickly to calls for assistance, so residents do not have to try to get up on their own.

Pennsylvania nursing homes should also provide a fall prevention strategy for every resident. When a new resident moves into a nursing home, the admitting nurse should perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the risk of injury from a fall. The fall prevention strategy is customized for each patient in order to reduce individual risk.

A fall prevention strategy may include:

  • Handrails near the bed or in the restroom
  • Proper bed positioning
  • A toileting program
  • A chair or bed alarm to alert nurses to help if the resident needs to gets up
  • Exercise program

 

Restraints should never be part of a fall prevention program. Restraints only increase the risk of injury.

Slip and falls should be a rare occurrence in all nursing homes. If your family member was injured in a Pennsylvania nursing home slip and fall, we urge you to discuss the injury with a slip and fall attorney.

The attorney will carefully review the resident’s care plan and determine whether the plan was adequate and whether the plan was fully implemented. The attorney will also look for signs of neglect.

If your loved one suffered a slip and fall injury at a Philadelphia nursing home, don’t hesitate to contact Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., Call us at 888-807-WORK (9675) to schedule your FREE consultation.