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Understaffed Nursing Homes Put Residents at Greater Risk of Fatal Falls

understaffing and falls at nursing homes

Like many U.S. nursing homes, elder care facilities in Illinois seem continuously challenged by an inadequate amount of care workers. Even though the state requires 2.5 hours of direct care for residents each day, about a quarter of the residents in Chicago-area homes are living in understaffed conditions putting them at risk for abuse and neglect.

While some long-term care facilities have been routinely understaffed for years, others continue to manage facilities with very little interest in providing attentive and quality resident care even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. As a result, fall-related injuries among residents are on the rise.

Hazards that contribute to nursing home resident fall injuries have included:

  • bathtubs without handlebars
  • broken bed rails
  • clutter
  • electrical cords
  • improper lifts and transfers from bed to chair, chair to toilet, chair to chair
  • inappropriate lighting
  • loose rugs
  • intentionally understaffed departments unable to tend to all patient needs (toileting and grooming, mobility to wheelchair or walker)
  • overmedication
  • poor-fitting clothing
  • restraints
  • stairs
  • ties such as tubing or catheters
  • unkept wheelchairs and mobility tools
  • wet floors

Falls are already the leading cause of injury-related deaths among persons aged 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And as many as 75% of nursing facility residents are reported falling each year and carry twice the chances of falling compared to a senior who lives in their own home or community.

Bone Fractures, Brain Injuries, and Death

Common fall injuries lead to a decline in a person’s health and ultimately contribute to 20% or about 1,800 nursing home resident deaths each year and can result in severe bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and sometimes death. Falls can be very damaging for the elderly, especially those with underlying conditions such as arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and urinary incontinence, and now, COVID-19 infections. Residents who are prescribed antipsychotics, blood thinners, and anticonvulsant drugs also carry their own extra risk of falling. Because of these known factors, facilities, and staff should follow a care plan that includes fall prevention strategies.

When improper care is provided, and staffing is insufficient, it becomes too easy for an older adult to become injured by a preventable fall at a care facility. Nursing home staff, administrators and owners could be responsible for negligent care.

Chicago’s Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys

We have become one of the most widely known and respected nursing home abuse and neglect law firms in Illinois, achieving multiple million-dollar verdicts and settlements for falls resulting from nursing home neglect. If a loved one has sustained serious injuries resulting from a fall at a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation. There is a time limit to file a case in Illinois, so please contact us for a free consultation with one of our skilled nursing home attorneys.

If you suspect any fall injury resulting from neglect or abuse at your loved one’s Illinois nursing home, contact the attorneys of Levin & Perconti now at 1-877-374-1417 for a free consultation.

Also read: As Illinois Nursing Homes Allow for Outdoor Visitors, Family Members Can Look Out for Signs of Distress

 

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