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    in Brooklyn: on behalf of an elderly man who suffered bed sores due to the negligence of both a hospital and a nursing home.

Falls in nursing homes can be life-threatening events

Falls in nursing homes should be prevented. Of course, it isn't possible to anticipate every fall, but a concerted effort to prevent most accidents and to remove hazards must be made.

Nursing home residents are usually elderly people who have other health challenges. Conditions like osteoporosis can lead to severe broken bones in a fall that wouldn't impact a younger, healthy person. Here are some important points to know about falls in health care facilities:

Prevention has to be the priority

Preventing falls has to be made a priority in nursing homes. When a new resident comes in or there are cognitive or other changes in an established resident, there must be an evaluation done to determine the fall risk. A resident with a high risk of falling should be placed on precautions to help ensure they don't fall. This can mean that they need someone to help them get out of bed and must use an assistive device, such as a walker, to move around the facility.

Other preventative measures, such as handrails along the corridors, can help to prevent falls. Floors must be kept clean and dry. Debris and trip hazards, such as cords, must be removed from the walkways. Bed rails are another tool that can help to prevent falls.

When falls do occur

A fall, which can occur from a bed, standing position, chair or a host of other places, is two to three times more likely to happen to an elderly person who lives in a nursing home instead of out in the community. Of the residents who do fall at the facility, 10 to 25 percent are likely going to receive care at the hospital due to a laceration or a fracture.

When a fall does occur, the staff members must react appropriately. You can't always take the "wait and see" attitude about the state of possible injuries from the fall when the person is elderly. Instead, staff members should be prepared to evaluate the resident for injuries. Ideally, there will be a qualified medical professional on staff who can conduct at least a basic triage of the resident. Ultimately, the resident might need to be taken to the hospital for an examination. This might be at the demand of the resident or at the insistence of the nursing home staff.

When falls aren't prevented and aren't handled properly, the resident might suffer irreparable damage. This might be a call to action for the resident who might ultimately decide to seek compensation for the injuries from in the fall.

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