Is it the nursing home's fault your loved one fell?

Before your grandmother moved to the Kentucky nursing home where she now lives, she fell in her home and broke her hip. With nursing home staff to assist her in her daily living activities and medical help nearby, you may feel that falling should be a thing of the past. If she does fall, should you investigate further or accept that with age comes increased risk?

According to Managed Health Care Connect, falls are much more common in nursing homes than they are for people living elsewhere in the community, with between 50 and 75 percent of residents suffering falls annually. So how should nursing homes address the problem? Experts believe the answer should be based on the individual.

The medical team that performed the assessment on your grandmother when she moved into the home should have identified any factors that would contribute to a risk of falls. These could include the following:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Incontinence
  • Joint issues
  • Poor muscle strength
  • Fear of falling
  • Medications

How alert your grandmother is, how well she can see, how much pain she is in and whether she has a variety of health conditions common in older adults could also lead to a fall. By becoming aware of each of these factors from the beginning, the doctor, nurses, aides and other staff members can eliminate as many of her own personal risks as possible. This process is ongoing, as medication changes can cause balance issues. Even something as simple as a mouth sore from ill-fitting dentures could cause her to quit eating, lose weight, lose strength and fall.

Ideally, the team watching over her will constantly assess her health and overall well-being, provide her with the assistance she needs for mobility and comfort, and keep the risk of a fall low. This information is general in nature, and should not be considered medical or legal advice.

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