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How often does nursing home error lead to residents falling?

For people in Los Angeles, the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is not an easy one. There are numerous issues that must be considered when an elderly or infirm person has reached the level at which he or she cannot be cared for at home. It is often an unavoidable necessity to seek help. While the goal is to give the person a level of care that is not available at home, nursing homes can be dangerous places. Falls are a common problem in nursing homes and they can lead to serious injuries and even death to the patients.

Approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die on an annual basis from injuries suffered after falls. In other cases, the injured person will be disabled after the fall. Given the number of people who live in nursing homes - 1.4 million age 65 or above - there are many vulnerable people. With the advancing age of the population as a whole, the number of people who are in nursing homes is expected to be an estimated three million by 2030.

Fifty to 75 percent of people in nursing homes fall every year and many fall more than one time. Considering the care that patients are supposed to receive in nursing homes, it's a concern that so many are subject to falls and the accompanying injuries. While there are physical reasons for patients to fall, there are also outside issues such as a wet floor, inadequate lighting, equipment not being in its proper position, and wheelchairs that are not maintained. Sometimes, there is delayed assistance from the medical staff on duty to help patients, and this leads to dangerous circumstances.

When there is a fall in a nursing home, families are sometimes not even aware that it happened. Some patients are not able to communicate effectively. If the injuries are severe enough, there might not be any way to know how it happened. When there is a belief that a nursing home error led to a fall and the resident was injured or died, it's important that a full investigation be conducted to consider a legal filing with help from a lawyer experienced in nursing home mistakes.

Source: CDC.gov, "Falls in Nursing Homes," accessed on May 26, 2015

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