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Is a fall a sign of nursing home neglect?

If your loved one is over the age of 65, he or she may be at a much higher risk of injury from a fall than you are, and may be more likely to, as well. The threat of falling is often a factor when people decide to move into a nursing home in Maryland. However, if staff do not take certain precautions, the facility could be just as dangerous as the home environment, even though your family member should be getting round-the-clock care that reduces that risk.

According to RN Journal, about 1,800 nursing home residents die from injuries sustained in falls each year. Many of these are caused by the same problems that lead to falls at home, such as the following:

  •          Poor balance
  •          Weak muscles
  •          Failing eyesight
  •          Medications
  •          Dementia

Your loved one may receive care in a nursing home that would lessen the risks of each of these, though. For example, balance and muscle strength may both be improved by an exercise program developed specifically to his or her health conditions. Careful monitoring of medication intake, particularly when a new prescription is taken, may prevent your loved one from falling due to dizziness or lightheadedness.

Other fall risks are more straightforward. Your family member should wear non-slip shoes that fit correctly. The appropriate mobility assistance such as a walker, handrails or a wheelchair should be available. Floor surfaces should be clean and well-maintained, too, and bedrooms, bathrooms, common areas and hallways should have adequate lighting. This information is not medical or legal advice, but it may help you identify nursing home hazards that could injure your loved one.

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