Nursing homes serve as residences for seniors who are too frail to care for themselves. Ideally, a Florida nursing home should be capable of keeping residents from falling and severely injuring themselves. Fall risks, unfortunately, are more common for seniors, and a nursing home staff that neglects its duty to care for residents runs the risk of allowing a tragedy to occur.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control describes a number of variables that can cause a person to fall. In many cases, they involve health issues that interfere with a person’s ability to walk. Balance problems, walking difficulties or weakness in the lower body can all contribute to falls. Sometimes a person may have fine strength in the feet and muscles but poor eyesight, and cannot see trip hazards until it is too late.
Fall risks can also manifest due to medication. Patients who take medicine can have problems maintaining balance or being steady on their feet, in some cases due to drowsiness produced by the medicine. Medications that cause these effects include antidepressants, sedatives and tranquilizers. These can include prescription medicine and also medicines sold over the counter.
The problem with fall risks is that they are especially pronounced with seniors. Many elderly persons have problems with balance, sight, are physically weak, or regularly take medication. In addition, some seniors suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia, which impairs cognition and can prevent a person from recognizing a dangerous situation.
Nursing homes should take these factors into account to prevent residents from tripping and falling. As the CDC points out, many falls happen because risk factors combine together. So a person with unsteady balance can trip and fall because the person cannot walk around a broken step or avoid clutter on the floor. If a nursing home does not exercise proper care, there are many opportunities for seniors to experience falls.
This information is only intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.