Study: New Nursing Home Patients At Heightened Risk Of Falling
November 17, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Study: New nursing home patients at heightened risk of falling

Usually, when someone ends up in a nursing home it is because their health is so fragile that living at home is no longer a safe option. When a loved one is admitted to a nursing home, most of us expect that they will be well-cared for. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse are real problems. Too often, nursing home patients do not get the care and attention they deserve.

This problem is highlighted by a recent study showing that 21 percent of all newly-admitted nursing home residents suffer a fall within their first 30 days at the facility. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, reviewed Medicare/Medicaid data from 2006. The study included data from more than 230,000 patients at approximately 10,000 nursing homes throughout the United States.

The researchers found that there was a significant link between proper staffing ratios and patient safety. Patients in nursing homes with higher levels of certified nursing assistants were less likely to fall. Certified nursing assistants are trained to provide hands-on care. Their personalized attention is especially beneficial during high-risk activities like moving from place to place, getting dressed or using the restroom.

Preventing nursing home falls

Nursing home falls are a serious problem. While a young or healthy person might be able to walk away from a fall with few injuries, the consequences can be disastrous for an older or frail person.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year approximately 1,800 nursing home patients die from fall-related injuries. Between 10 and 20 percent of all nursing home falls result in serious injury. In addition to catastrophic injury and disability, falls can contribute to functional decline, social isolation and decreased quality of life.

The CDC reports that nursing home patients are twice as likely to fall as older people who live on their own. Because of this increased risk, nursing homes need to be especially vigilant to potential falls. Every new patient should be thoroughly evaluated for fall risks, and staff should develop individualized care plans to help keep patients safe.

Patients who have mobility problems, memory loss or dementia are at heightened risk of falling. In addition, some medications -- especially sedatives, anti-anxiety medications and other drugs that affect the central nervous system -- can increase the chance of a fall. Conditions in the home also play a role; wet floors, incorrect bed height and improper walking aids are all significant contributing factors to nursing home falls.

The rights of Ohio nursing home patients

Every nursing home patient deserves to be well cared for. When an accident happens because of caregiver negligence, abuse or neglect, Ohio law gives nursing home patients the right to seek financial compensation for their injuries.

After a nursing home fall, it is important talk to an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney. The attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances of the fall to determine why it occurred and whether the accident was preventable. The attorney will then be able to use this information to advise the patient and his or her family on the best course of action.

Article provided by Novak Pavlik Deliberato LLP
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