Any Illinois nursing home neglect attorney understands that one of the most common (and dangerous) forms of accident that can strike in a facility is a fall. Many residents are in frail condition or have unique vulnerabilities that make even a single fall potentially life-threatening. Illinois nursing home falls are capable of two levels of harm. The fall itself can cause immediate physical complications-such as broken bones and torn muscles. In addition, those initial problems often led to secondary complications. Older community members are often not capable of healing as quickly as they use to. Accidents that they might have bounced back from when they were younger could cause a spiral downward.
All possible causes of nursing home falls should be understood and guarded against. For example, Medline Plus recently discussed new research which explains that certain types of antidepressants may cause residents to have an increased risk of falling. Specifically, residents who start taking non-SSRI antidepressants are significantly more likely to fall in the early stages of using the new medication. Non-SSRI antidepressants are those not known as “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” The study was conducted by the Institute for Aging Research and found that the increase risk applied both to those taking the drugs for the first time as well as to those who are given an increased dose of the non-SSRI antidepressant.
The findings were reached after examining information about over 1,100 nursing home residents who had fallen at their facility. Those who had taken the medication experienced 500% more falls than those who had not. Clearly, this news suggests that nursing homes need to more closely monitor those who are taking this medication. Employees should avoid making major changes to the schedule of residents who are exposed to this risk. Extra attention should also be paid to these individuals to determine if particular daily activities need to be curbed at the time when the increased risk is most apparent.
Researchers have a variety of theories that explain why the increased fall risk is found with non-SSRI drug use. First, there may be serious cognitive and motor effects specifically caused by the drugs that make it more difficult for residents to move safely. In addition, certain non-SSRIs are associated with a condition known as postural hypotension-a dramatic blood pressure decrease caused when a resident stands up. Finally, some experts have found basic sedation and coordination problems with all non-SSRI antidepressants.
Our Illinois nursing home fall attorneys believe that all facilities must take this and similar research into account when they conduct planning in order to prevent falls. The consequences of these accidents are unmistakable, and so proper preventative measures must be part of all safe practices. If a loved one has been injured in one of these falls, it is important to contact a legal professional to discover if the fall should have been prevented. In many cases it is only through legal discovery devices that families are capable of learning the truth about the care provided to their loved one in an area nursing home.
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