Life during the golden years can be particularly difficult for older adults. The body goes through many physical changes as people age, including a slow decline in strength and flexibility. Changes to the spine eventually contribute to a changing center of gravity. Issues with balance can also develop as people get older.
All of these factors, other age-related symptoms and individual health concerns can all contribute to an older adult’s risk of falling and getting hurt. Falls are such a serious concern for older adults that they are one of the top reasons that families move loved ones into nursing homes.
Unfortunately, simply moving your loved one to a facility will not necessarily protect them from falls, as staff negligence can leave them very vulnerable.
Nursing home falls are more common than they should be
People living in nursing homes should be able to rely on the staff at those facilities to provide for their basic needs. Those needs likely include support while those individuals bathe themselves, dress themselves and accomplish other crucial daily tasks related to their self-care.
Family members who realize that they cannot meet all of those needs may encourage older adults to move into nursing homes for their own protection. Unfortunately, inadequate staff at a nursing home can easily lead to someone falling.
When there aren’t enough workers to support each adult in the facility throughout the day, some adults will attempt to get dressed or go to the dining hall without support, at which point they may fall and suffer a serious injury. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, approximately half of those living in nursing homes will fall each year, and roughly a third of those who fall will have two or more falls.
Nursing home staff need to be proactive about monitoring the needs of older adults, and the facilities themselves should prioritize keeping enough staff on hand to meet the needs of their residents at any given time.
Staff hiding falls is a red flag for family members
Receiving a phone call that your loved one fell and got hurt is a stressful experience. However, it is still preferable to going for a visit, only to discover a loved one with serious injuries because they felt.
If the staff at the nursing home failed to notify family members about a fall or to document the incident when it occurred, that could be a sign of either extremely overworked staff members who can’t do their paperwork or an intentional effort to minimize official records of resident injuries. Neither is a good situation for your loved one.
Understanding why falls can be a sign of nursing home neglect may prompt people to take action to protect their loved ones.