My mother was injured in a fall at her nursing home. Should I accept the staff’s explanation that this is common and unavoidable?

While injuries from falls are common among the elderly, they should not occur in a nursing home. Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that residents remain healthy and secure unless they suffer from an illness that cannot be prevented.

The federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees nursing home residents’ rights. It says nursing homes are to care for residents in a way that maintains or enhances their quality of life, and ensure that their health or well-being does not decline unless it is caused by unavoidable medical reasons.

Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries and those who survive falls frequently suffer hip fractures and head injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.

Nursing home residents who are at risk of falling should be provided assistive devices (walkers, wheelchairs, etc.) and personal assistance when moving between bed and chairs, for bathing and toileting. Nursing homes should also ensure that the home’s environment is free of fall hazards, such as wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, etc.

If you are concerned about the cause of your loved one’s fall in a nursing home, we suggest you contact the Becker Law Office to discuss this matter further. You can also read more about how we help those who have been injured in falls in nursing homes and hospitals.