Falls among nursing home residents occur frequently and repeatedly. According to the CDC , about 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from
fall-related injuries and those who survive falls frequently sustain
hip fractures and head injuries that result in permanent disability and
reduced quality of life .
an elderly person, a broken bone can lead to many other physical and mental
health issues. Different types of nursing
home abuse and nursing home neglect can cause broken bones
in nursing homes.
Families who place a loved one in a
nursing home expect the staff to
take care of the elderly family member. Unfortunately, some families find that
nursing home staff neglect or improperly care for family members placed in such
facilities. Problems like broken bones, dehydration or cuts and bruises are indicators
that the nursing home might not offer the care families expect.
In 2003, 1.5 million people 65 and older lived in nursing homes. If current rates continue, by 2030 this number will rise to about 3 million.
About 5% of adults 65 and older live in nursing homes, but nursing
home residents account for about 20% of deaths from falls in this age
Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported.
Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year.5 That’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community.
Patients often fall more than once. The average is 2.6 falls per person per year.6
About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk.
About 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls.1
About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.1
Falls result in disability, functional decline and reduced quality
of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function,
depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.5
Poor Staffing-In many cases, injuries are
the result of understaffing and inadequately trained employees. When nursing
homes try to cut corners by not hiring enough qualified staff members, there
are simply not enough workers to monitor residents. Because many residents
require constant care and supervision, it is easy to see how understaffing can
lead to serious injury and even wrongful death.
Physical Plant Hazard-wet floors, poor lighting, improper bed heights, improperly
maintained wheelchairs, or equipment left out of place.
Overrmedication- Giving seniors
too much medication can make them dizzy and cause them to lose their balance.
When this happens, they can easily fall and injure themselves.
Malnutrition - Like overmedication, if a
senior is not getting the nutrients and food they need because of nursing home
neglect, medication complications, or even depression, they can lose
coordination and fall.
Physical Abuse- In my extensive experience with nursing home abuse, the greatest cause of falls and broken bones is abuse or neglect. While it may be hard to think about, there are abusive
nursing homes that restrain residents violently. During the evening and night shifts many staff members refuse to answer call bells, causing residents to climb out of bed or void in bed. Of course there are beatings all the time. Your family member may
feel embarrassed or scared to tell you about this, so it is important that you
take the time to investigate the circumstances of their broken bones. IF YOU SUSPECT ABUSE YOU SHOULD CALL THE POLICE AND LET THEM SORT IT OUT OR CALL MY ELDER ADVOCATE IMMEDIATELY AT 212-945-7550.
Falls can and should be prevented without using restraints .
Although restraints (such as bedrails) have often been used for nursing
home residents with a history or high risk of falls, studies have shown that
limiting a resident’s freedom of movement can actually contribute to
Alternative interventions that can reduce the risk of falls include physical
conditioning and walking programs, lowering bed heights and removing clutter
from around the bed, installing raised toilet seats, fixing or replacing
substandard wheelchairs and furniture, using properly fitted shoes, and having
enough staff to assist with transfers (i.e. between bed, chair, toilet)—all
simple actions and adjustments that cost little to implement but a lot (your
loved one’s health and, possibly, life) if they aren’t.
Research on falls reduction has identified several effective approaches to
reducing falls risk. Current evidence-based programs exist and can be used to
reduce the risk of falls among older adult falls reduction program
participants. Still uncertain, however, is how to recruit and retain older
adult participants to falls reduction programs.
A recent qualitative study suggests that attending to an individual’s sense
of identity when trying to recruit them for falls reduction programming is
The authors of the study argue that falls reduction research should consider
“the psychosocial effect of a fall on the health and well-being of older
people”, or simply, the attitudes, feelings, and social
life of the individual. In particular, the authors argue that identity is an
important aspect to consider when examining the experience of a fall and falls
prevention in general. The authors define identity as “knowing who you are and
what is meaningful to you,” and refer to both self-identity and collective
identity, or sense of belonging to a group or category.
My Elder Advocate
responds nearly instantly to any elder or eldercare crisis… in order to
provide nursing home intervention, arrange for immediate placements,
prevent evictions from nursing homes, handle a hospital crisis, and
respond to other eldercare challenges.
But we can’t solve an ugly
and dangerous situation unless you contact us immediately. Often waiting
a day is as harmful to a family member as taking no action at all.
If you and your family have
an elder family member that is facing one of these challenges, don’t
wait. We can resolve it quickly. Contact us TODAY by calling us directly
at (212) 945-7550.