Common Causes of Nursing Home Falls in North CarolinaAccording to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 1,800 seniors die in nursing home fall accidents in the United States every year – and an average of 100 to 200 falls take place annually in nursing homes with 100 beds. It follows that nursing home fall accidents and injuries are a major cause of serious injury, disability, and even anxiety and depression.
While some falls are simply accidents, others falls could have and should have been prevented by the nursing home.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of falls in North Carolina nursing homes:
- Weak muscles & mobility issues. The major cause of one out of five nursing home falls is simply the fact that the elderly are dealing with muscle loss and decreased mobility. Getting from place to place is more difficult, and falls can result in more serious injuries due to age and bone loss.
- Staff mistakes & errors. Some nursing home falls take place as a staff member is helping a resident out of bed, into a wheelchair, or to the bathroom.
- Environmental hazards. Dangerous conditions in the nursing home, such as poorly lit hallways, trip hazards, lack of safety railings, or wet floors cause as many as 25 percent of senior falls in adult care centers.
- Defective or inappropriate walking aides. Defective wheelchairs, broken walkers, poorly fitting shoes, slippery socks, or poorly chosen walking aides can all lead to serious falls.
- Over-medication and medication changes. Studies have found that the number of falls skyrockets the first three days that a patient is on a new drug. In addition, over-medication can also result in falls related to balance issues, loss of consciousness, and loss of coordination.
- Not following nursing care plans. If a nursing home patient is a fall risk, they may have special considerations in their care plan, including padded floors, a low bed, and special walking aids. If these considerations are ignored, serious injuries could result.