Many nursing home residents are at increased risk for falling due to their medications, muscle weakness, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, the use of walkers or canes, etc. I just read of a tragic story on this very problem and a nursing homes failure to take appropriate action.
An 82 year old California nursing home resident who was at increased risk for falls suffered two falls within the first couple of months at the facility. On a third occasion, she fell while in the facility’s dining room and suffered a punctured lung and several broken ribs. The staff did not call for medical attention and simply placed the resident in bed. The next day the resident’s husband came to visit and found his wife unresponsive. She was immediately transferred to a local hospital where she submitted to emergency surgery and incurred $88,000 in medical expenses.
The resident’s family filed suit against the nursing home for its negligence in failing to have a Care Plan in place to address the resident’s repeated falls as well as for the staff’s failure to have the resident examined by a doctor after her last, and most serious, fall. The jury awarded the resident, and her family, substantial damages.
My Take: It is inexcusable (and negligent) for a nursing home not to have a Care Plan in place which reduces the risk of falls in a patient with a known history of falling. It is criminal for a nursing home to fail to provide medical attention after a resident suffers a fall serious enough to fracture ribs and other bones.