Nursing Home Falls

Everyday patients fall in Georgia nursing homes. Our Atlanta attorneys have successfully tried cases against nursing homes and other skilled care facilities in which patients have suffered severe injuries due to preventable falls.
Patients who are in long term nursing homes are by definition in a compromised state of health, usually from multiple chronic medical problems. These patients are often weak, are subject to lightheaded spells, become confused and have significant deficiencies of mobility and balance. Falling is a common occurrence for these patients. The consequence of these events can range from simple, inconsequential bruising to severe complications such as broken bones to severe head injuries.
Even relatively simple additional stresses imposed on an already weak person can have long term and devastating effects on a patient’s overall medical condition. It is a fact that such patients who sustain a fractured hip have a much higher 6 month death rate even after the fracture has healed.
Patients in these facilities suffer from a variety of conditions which make them risks for falling.
These include:
1. Dementia associated with “sundowner” syndrome. Commonly, a patient wakes up in the middle of the night, not knowing where he or she is, experience a drop in blood pressure from arising too quickly, have a momentary dizzy spell or loss of consciousness and fall.
2. Visual disturbance where a patient cannot see well enough.
3. A history of stroke associated with weakness, partial paralysis and loss of balance.
4. Multiple medications that cause drops in blood pressure, medications which cause sleepiness and confusion, and diabetic medications which cause low blood sugars
Of course there are also environmental factors which can lead to falls. These include such things as slippery floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and improperly place rails.
Many times simple precautions can prevent these tragic falls, such as anti-skid strips around beds and bathrooms. Beds should be lowered at night and bed rails raised. Mobility and balance evaluations are important methods of assessing individual risks and point to specific, patient- oriented interventions.

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