Each Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer at our firm understands the extent of mistreatment at area nursing homes. While only a few cases make headlines, the actual problems with caregivers at many of these facilities is very comprehensive. Residents hurt in serious ways are not the exception to the rule–they are reminders of an incredibly common problem. To be sure, outright intentional abuse of the elderly is not incredibly common–though it does occur more than most suspect. But chronic negligence, or failure to meet reasonable standards of care, is incredibly common.
A story from Health Day shows one facet of that reality–two out of every ten residents suffer a fall when first admitted to the nursing home. Nursing home falls are incredibly serious incidents which often have a downward spiral effect on a senior’s health. High fall rates are an obvious indication of systematic nursing home neglect.
The particular research study involved in the article examined data on over 230,000 nursing home residents, beginning with their initial admission into the facility. This represented admission at over 10,000 facilities across the country. The information was pulled from Medicare and Medicaid data in 2006. The data indicates that 21% of all resident fell at the nursing home within the first 30 days. Those are far from isolated incidents. In fact, this is a clear reminder to all local families of the need to be particularly vigilant about the care of senior loved ones when they first enter a home.
Interestingly, the study went further and tried to get details about the facilities that had the highest fall rates. Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers were not surprised by what they found: higher staffing levels correlated to lower fall rates. Facilities with more certified nursing assistant to patient ratios were better at preventing the accidents. The reason is pretty straightforward. Residents often need the assistance of these staff members for various tasks, like getting into a wheelchair, getting out of bed, or going to the restroom. When there are not enough caregivers around, the chance of residents not receiving help increases. This is often an example of nursing home neglect.
All of this information was published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It may be the first time that a study of this size was conducted on newly admitted residents. Information on high fall rates for all residents at these facilities have long been known to be quite high.
The data is even more indication of the vital importance of these facilities conducting clear fall risk assessments of new residents and actually following through with the details of the plan outlined in the assessment. Far too often the risks are not identified fully or the safeguards are not actually put into place. Resident falls occur as a result that otherwise would have been prevented. The consequences run the gamut from delaying release following a rehabilitation to permanent injury and death. If you or a loved one has been harmed in one of these falls and suspected it was rooted in negligence, be sure to get in touch with a legal professional.
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