Falling becomes a more serious health risk as people grow older. Aging can reduce the amount of muscle someone has and decrease their bone density, meaning that a fall is more likely to result in fractures. Issues with balance are also common as people age, especially if their center of gravity changes because of spinal compression.
Not only are older adults more likely to fall and get hurt; they are also more likely to require a long time to recover after they fall. Concerns about your aging loved one falling may have been why you decided to move them into a nursing home. But if your loved one falls while in nursing home care, that could be a sign that the care is inadequate.
Nursing homes can prevent most falls
Nursing homes should do a fall risk assessment whenever they accept a new resident or when an existing resident has an incident or receives a new diagnosis. Staff members should also prioritize care and support for those with the highest level of fall risk.
Timely responses to call requests will give residents confidence that staff members will meet their needs. Timely responses may also make residents less likely to try to get out of bed or do other daily tasks without support from staff. Nursing home residents who know they can rely on help from staff will be less likely to risk falling by trying to do things without proper assistance.
If your loved one has fallen at a nursing home — and especially if they have fallen more than once — that could be a sign of negligence at the nursing home. Identifying signs of negligent nursing home care can help you better protect your loved one. For more on these matters, please see our Elder Neglect FAQ.