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Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro
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Accidental Falls-A Major Risk in Nursing Homes

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According to a published report in the Washington Times on November 17, 2006, the leading cause of injury deaths for people over 65 is a fall.

In 2003, over 13,000 seniors died from falling according to a study by the United States Centers for Disease Control. Older men are more likely than older women to die from a tumble because they are typically more frail.

The population of people over 65 in nursing homes was over a million and a half in 2003. As many as 3 out of 4 residents of nursing homes will fall each year, some more than once. 1,800 people in U.S. nursing homes will die from the accidental falls that occur. As much as 1 out of 5 nursing home falls result in serious injuries. Obviously, given these significant dangers to nursing home residents, the operators of these homes must use extra caution to try to limit the number of falls. Changes can be made in the nursing home environment to make it easier for people to move around safely like adding more grab bars and handrails and adjusting the height of beds and toilet seats.

The staff in nursing homes has to be ready to properly assess patients for fall risks, including their medication and their underlying medical conditions. As many of the nursing homes in the U.S. and Virginia (VA) are squeezed financially by the corporations which own these facilities, fall prevention may not get the constant vigilance it requires. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and under funded, which makes the risks of accidental injury like falls greater. If your parent or loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or negligence resulting in death or serious injury, please contact a competent lawyer to look into the matter. You may not only be helping your own family, but also preventing future mishaps to other seniors.