Victims of Falls from Nursing Home Abuse
Falls are one of the leading causes of personal injuries in the United States, particularly in nursing homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, there are approximately 3 million emergency department visits for fall injuries. Of these 3 million falls, approximately 10% occur in healthcare centers such as nursing homes. In addition, the CDC statistics also reveal that adults who are 65 years or older account for over 34,000 deaths caused by falls. Despite stronger awareness programs and tougher laws and regulations, older adult fall deaths have increased by 59% over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield, Illinois, at the Noll Law Office know that many falls from nursing home abuse result in permanent injuries or wrongful death.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in any type of nursing home incident, especially a fall, you need to contact an experienced legal professional in your community – an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer that you can trust to investigate the situation and advise you on your options moving forward. That compassionate and experienced choice is the Noll Law Office. Their lawyers have a proven track record of success representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. During a free consultation, the Noll Law Office can review your case and answer your questions about what your legal rights may be under the law. To learn more, contact them today.
How Are Falls Related to Other Nursing Home Abuse Signs?
A well-run nursing home should be able to prevent most falls. As required by law, all facilities have internal protocols and procedures to avoid falls. Nursing home residents are supposed to be given fall risk assessments, gauging what needs your loved one needs. Once the fall assessment is done, a care plan is created to address and prevent any falls that your loved one may be at risk for to avoid preventable injury or death. This can include, but not be limited to, the following fall precautions:
- Use of bed rails (with physician order)
- Having the assistance of one or two staff members for lifts
- Use of a walker or wheelchair
- Lift chairs
- Hoyer lifts
- Using non-slip socks
- Having bed alarms
- Lowering the bed
- Moving furniture away from the bed to prevent a victim from falling and hitting his or her head on a corner of an object
- Using mats under a bed
- Having more accessible call alarms
- Prescribing one-on-one care or supervision
- Routine checks and monitoring of patients, and
- Many other sorts of options are based on your loved one’s medical conditions, limitations, and abilities.
If your loved one has a history of multiple falls in the nursing home, look for other signs of abuse and neglect. These may include a general lack of care as well as unreasonable physical restraint. Is the resident being assisted and taken to the restroom or other grooming in a timely manner? Are they given special tread socks to prevent falling on sick floors? Where is their walker located and kept? Fractures or head injuries can easily result from a fall caused by abuse or neglect. Unexplained wounds, welts, cuts, or bruises can also result from a fall caused by abuse or neglect.
Common Causes of Falls
There are many causes of falls, from nursing home abuse, neglect, or malpractice in Illinois. Not all falls may be due to reckless, careless, or outright abusive conduct. However, all falls should be reviewed by an experienced attorney to ensure that a victim’s rights to compensation are protected under the law.
Some of the most common causes of nursing home falls include the following:
- Transferring – Transfers are a high-risk activity that can cause serious falls when the nursing staff is understaffed, lax, or untrained. Patient transfers from the bed to a wheelchair, toilet chair, walker, or into a standing position offer potential fall hazards when staff is not vigilant. A common cause of a fall during a transfer is when a staff member attempts by himself or herself to lift or move a resident who is prescribed a 2-person lift.
- Hazards – Falls can be caused by equipment in the hallways or other hazards such as wet floors, beds that are too high, poorly maintained Hoyer lifts and other equipment, or poor lighting.
- Prescriptions – Medications, especially sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs, may also increase the risk of falls, particularly within the first several days of taking a new medication. Nursing home residents must be watched carefully to prevent injury.
- Physical Abuse – Nursing home falls can be caused by deliberate physical abuse, including hitting, kicking, slapping, and shoving an elderly patient. When a resident is struck in such a fashion, it may cause a resident to fall and injure himself or herself.
Damages Due to Falls from Abuse, Neglect, or Malpractice
The fall itself can cause head injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, hematomas, concussions, and severe cuts and bruises. If the resident is on blood thinners, severe injury can occur quickly. The resident should be immediately evaluated by nursing staff and examined, if necessary, at the nearest emergency room to rule out major problems. Oftentimes, residents suffer from dementia and other medical conditions that prevent them from reporting their symptoms, which is why a medical examination is absolutely necessary.
Besides the acute trauma, an elderly person who is seriously injured from a fall can also experience depression, further decline in mobility, and social isolation. Falls often result in “downward spirals” of residents, and death is statistically more likely in the six months following such an event. While there are many different causes for falls, it’s important to be aware of all the possibilities when a nursing home is involved. A fall can easily be tied to other nursing home abuse or neglect symptoms, too.
What Should I Do if a Loved One Exhibits the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Nursing home abuse or neglect is something few people are prepared for when they see it. We all want to assume the nursing home facility will do its job by protecting our loved ones. If you believe nursing home abuse has occurred, take immediate action. If you suspect nursing home abuse, do the following:
- Immediately arrange for a medical examination of the resident.
- Notify the applicable governmental agency for investigation, including but not limited to police agencies or the IDPH.
- Carefully document all signs and symptoms of abuse, and take photographs if you can.
- Question your loved one about the abuse when facility staff is not present.
- Gather any evidence that will help you prove the abuse.
- Contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield, IL—by taking legal action, you can hold the facility accountable while getting your loved one out of harm’s way.
How Do I Choose the Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Me?
It is important to have a skilled, local nursing home lawyer that has experience in these types of cases. Your attorney will know how to review the evidence to determine if a lawsuit is warranted and hold the facility accountable and recover the compensation that the victim and his or her family need for medical bills, conscious pain and suffering, and other damages.
The Noll Law Office is a central Illinois personal injury law firm that will help you through the legal process with compassion and care. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the fall, your claim may involve violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, negligence, medical malpractice, wrongful death, breach of contract, fraud, negligent hiring, or other claim related to your nursing home abuse, neglect and/or malpractice case.
How Do I Know if I Have a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Illinois?
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect symptoms often go unnoticed. It can often be difficult to know whether your loved one’s fall was the result of nursing home abuse or neglect or simply a product of physical changes that occur with age. Watch your loved one carefully for any unexplained bruising, weight loss, abrasions on the wrists or ankles, bedsores, frequent infections, lack of hygiene, bone fractures, burn marks, or mismanagement of prescription medications. If the staff cannot explain any of these signs, you should report suspected abuse or neglect. You can also take a look at your loved one’s “care plan” and make sure that it is being followed.
Emotional abuse can be even harder to identify. If you see your loved one withdrawing from interactions they once enjoyed, acting in a fearful manner towards certain nursing home staff, avoiding certain persons or areas of the facility, or becoming increasingly depressed without any known cause, you should question him or her about emotional abuse. Ask questions—if you do not get straightforward answers from your loved one or the staff, it could be time to speak to the applicable governmental authority in addition to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, from the Noll Law Office.
How Noll Law Office Can Help Victims of Falls from Nursing Home Abuse in Springfield, Illinois
Anytime you or a loved one fall in a nursing home, it is time to speak to one of the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office. Their personal injury law firm is centrally located in Springfield, Illinois, and has compassionate and skilled lawyers who will aggressively represent your case. You will work with one of their lawyers directly, meeting with them on your first intake and during other conferences. As fifth-generation Central Illinois attorneys, their family will fight for yours offering compassionate counsel and honest, open communication. The nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield, IL, at the Noll Law Office will work by your side to ensure that those responsible for the abuse are held accountable and the injured person or their estate is properly compensated for their medical bills as well as pain and suffering. Contact the Noll Law Office today to learn more about your rights to compensation under Illinois law during a free consultation and case evaluation.