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Determining Fault In A Fall

AdobeStock_281935062.jpegDespite your best efforts to look after your aging parents, you may lack the time, training and equipment they need to grow older as gracefully, and with as much dignity, as possible. As a result, older adults often transition to life in a nursing home facility.

You might think paying thousands of dollars each month assures your mother or father will receive proper care, and that the trained providers to whom you've entrusted your loved ones will be attentive and cautious with some of the most precious people in your life. However, research suggests that is not always the reality.

How common are falls?

Researchers estimate millions of people age 65 and above fall each year. To note how common falls are among older adults, each year they account for:

  • More than 800,000 hospitalizations
  • A minimum of three million visits to the emergency department
  • Over $50 billion in medical expenses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are also "the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries." Yet, these incidents are often preventable.

Why these injuries indicate a persistent problem

Growing older can take a toll both physically and mentally. Meanwhile, medications can affect equilibrium and vision, making it more difficult to navigate surroundings.

Although falling is common within assisted living facilities, is it possible to know whether abuse or neglect were contributing factors?

Federal regulators have received nearly 2,000 reports of "serious deficiencies," or dangerous incidents, from nursing homes in Texas over the past five years - the highest rate in the nation. At the same time, state nursing homes reported 143 deaths allegedly related to facility care, or lack thereof.

Fault may not be accidental

With each passing year, injuries become more problematic, which is why it can be important to hold a licensed care facility accountable for preventable accidents. You may have the right to seek compensation if an injury report indicates findings such as:

  • Staff members did not transfer your mother or father correctly, although they had the capacity to do so
  • The incident happened due to a present slipping hazard, such as a spill that did not get cleaned up
  • Long wait times due to understaffing encouraged your loved one to act independently, when assistance was essential
  • Power cords, rugs or a change in terrain caused the resident to trip
  • Insufficient job experience or training in proper transfer methods resulted in the fall

Ideally, well-equipped workers would remain attentive to each resident's needs and minimize dangers throughout living areas.

Through no fault of diligent nursing staff, unfortunate injuries can, and do, occur. However, if your loved one suffers unnecessarily, you have the right to question whether any one of multiple parties is responsible.

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