The State of California Health Facilities Consumer Information System lists more than 2,600 long-term care facilities in the state. When families choose one of these facilities for a loved one, they place great trust in it for their family member’s everyday care, safety, and well-being. Ideally nursing homes will be free of safety hazards but in many senior living homes, there are common dangers that can lead to serious injury.
#1 Slips and falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls affect the vast majority of seniors, and those who fall once are likely to fall again. The CDC estimates that approximately 75% of a nursing home’s residents will suffer a fall in a given year.
- Slip or fall dangers in nursing homes include:
- Improper lighting
- Floor hazards like loose carpeting or slick tiles
- Inadequate handrails
- Lack of safety alert system to allow residents to call for help
#2 Medication errors
Many seniors take multiple medications. And any nursing home may be responsible for administering hundreds of prescriptions in precise doses each day. Medical errors can cause critical emergencies from overdose, falls from dizziness, and even death.
According to one study, between 16 and 31 percent of residents are improperly administered medications. In addition, three out of every four residents are prescribed at least one medication that is potentially incorrect. Improperly-administered medications have also been linked to falls by nursing home residents.
#3 Sedentary living
Limited mobility puts seniors at increased risk for bedsores. Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores can develop on parts of the body that are exposed to prolonged pressure. Areas that come into contact with chairs and beds, such as tailbones, ankles, backs of heads, hips, and spines are especially vulnerable.
Nursing home staff need to help residents move as needed to alleviate pressure on these sensitive body parts. Early bedsores may only involve mild skin irritation but if left untreated, they can develop into serious wounds that involve muscle and bone, putting the resident at risk for infections and other serious complications.
If your loved one is showing signs of bedsores, it could be a sign that they are not getting the attention they need.
#4 Resident abuse
One of the most unsettling things to think about is a loved one being abused by a nursing home caregiver. Neglect, which can lead to bedsores and other ailments, is one type of caregiver abuse. But it can also take place in the form of physical or psychological abuse. Another form of nursing home abuse that is often overlooked is resident-to-resident abuse.
Whether a resident is abused by a caregiver or another resident, a nursing home is required to report within certain time frames. The facility may also be liable for the injuries suffered.
Talk to a an elder abuse and nursing home neglect lawyer in Southern California
If you or a loved one resides in a nursing home and suffers a personal injury due to the facility’s negligence, the law may allow recovery. The Salamati Firm serves clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern CA so that they can receive the compensation they deserve while holding at-fault nursing homes accountable. A financial recovery may pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. Call today for a free case review with an experienced attorney.
Additional resources about nursing home hazards:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Nursing Home and Personal Care Facilities: Hazards and Solutions, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/hazards_solutions.html
- University of California San Francisco Science of Caring, How Can We Reduce Adverse Events in Long-Term Care Settings?, https://scienceofcaring.ucsf.edu/research/how-can-we-reduce-adverse-events-long-term-care-settings
- NPR, Serious Nursing Home Abuse Often Not Reported to Police, Federal Investigators Find, https://www.npr.org/2017/08/28/546460187/serious-nursing-home-abuse-often-not-reported-to-police-federal-investigators-fi