Philadelphia Nursing Home Falls (Broken Hips)
Philadelphia – Pennsylvania – Harrisburg – Scranton – Pittsburgh – Erie – New Jersey
When anyone enters a hospital or nursing home, they must be assessed for the risk of falling. This is especially true for elderly patients, who may have balance problems and might be taking medications which interfere with physical stability. Confused patients, suffering from dementia or alzheimer’s, might become uncertain about where they are and try to get up in the middle of the night. In their confusion, they can easily fall and break a hip or suffer a brain injury. As we age, our bones become brittle and break more easily. A fall that might not even bruise a young person can kill an older one. It is critical that nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals be aware of the specific fall risk of each and every patient, and respond appropriately to that risk.
At Lowenthal & Abrams, we represent victims who were injured due to nursing home neglect. Contact us today to tell us about what happened to your loved one. The head of our nursing home abuse department is both an attorney and a nurse. She knows the law, understands the medical records and fights for victims and their families.
Hospital and Nursing Home Fall Risk Assessment
Hospitals and nursing homes must have a written policy for assessing the fall risk of each patient. This is especially important when it comes to older individuals. After identifying the individual risk for each patient, the facility should implement a plan to prevent falls. The fall questionnaire should include an initial screening as well as a physical and functional evaluation of the resident.
Morse Fall Assessment
The Morse fall assessment is a series of questions to help the nursing home or hospital determine the fall risk of each resident.
- Does the person have a history of falling? If so when did the fall(s) occur?
- Are there secondary health issues that increase the risk? For example dizziness, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, osteoarthritis or hypertension.
- Does the person use an ambulatory aid, such as a cane or walker? Does he lean on furniture to walk or require help from another person?
- Does the patient require an IV or access for an IV?
- How is the person’s gait? Is it normal? Does the person require bed rest or use of a wheelchair? Is the person weak or impaired?
- How is the resident’s mental status? Is she able to appreciate her own capability to move or does she overestimate her abilities or forget her limitations?
After the questions are asked, a score is given based on the answers. The higher the score the greater the fall risk.
Responding to the Risks
Once the assessment is made, it is crucial that the facility make whatever adjustments are necessary to keep the patient safe. Such adjustments might include:
- Not allowing the patient to get up on her own. This might include use of a lift to help the person get out of bed, or being by her side to steady her as she seeks to move around the room.
- Providing a wheelchair for movement.
- Adjustment of medication to appropriate levels to reduce confusion or better manage hypertension or other issues.
- Adaptation of the environment.
- Physical therapy to help improve gait and balance.
- Better choice of shoes or slippers.
- Determining if vision problems can be managed or limited.
- Removing any environmental risks that increase the risk of falling.
When Elderly People Fall – They Often Die
Falling, especially for the elderly, is a very big deal. Even a “short fall can be deadly.” For those over 70, falls that, “seem relatively harmless…can actually lead to severe injury and death in elderly individuals.” Brain injuries, broken hips, broken arms and legs, each of these can result from any fall in an elderly individual. People over 70 are considerably, “less likely to survive their injuries compared to adults younger than 70 years.” This risk of serious injury and death is why fall assessments and prevention are so critical.
Was Your Loved One Injured Due to a Fall in a Nursing Home or Hospital?
If your mother, father or other relative fell and was injured in a nursing home or hospital, it may have been due to negligence. If it was, the nursing home abuse attorneys at Lowenthal & Abrams will fight for justice for your loved one and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.