Each year, hundreds of South Carolina nursing home residents sustain serious injuries because of falls. These injuries include fractured hips, separated shoulders, and brain bleeds. Can such accidents be prevented? In almost all cases, the answer is “yes.”
You do not need a Columbia, SC nursing home neglect lawyer to tell you that our seniors must be shown respect, compassion, and special attention when they are placed in the care of a nursing facility. Precautions must be taken to ensure they do not fall. This is especially true if one of our seniors enters a care facility with a fall history or a health condition that makes them more vulnerable to accidents. For example, if your mother has fallen in the past or your father has signs of dementia, you want to be sure the nursing home has adequate railings and that the staff is properly trained with regard to risk assessment. You also want to check for less obvious safety items such as:
1. Whether the facility provides treaded socks to decrease the chance of your loved one slipping;
2. Whether the furniture and equipment is heavy enough so as not to shift when pressure is applied;
3. Whether gait changes are monitored and noted on a frequent basis;
4. Whether cordless devices are used wherever possible; and
5. Whether the room is designed in a way that allows your loved one to get out of bed on their stronger side.
One of the best ways to assess a nursing home’s safety conditions is to make an unannounced visit. By making an unscheduled visit, especially on a weekend, you will have the opportunity to observe the facility’s staff when many of the supervisors are off-duty. In addition, nursing home employees may be willing to discuss the facility’s safety record when their superiors are off-duty. You might also have the chance to speak with residents about the care they receive, whether they know of any other residents falling, and what type of safety precautions are taken to protect seniors from fall injuries.
In sum, it is a South Carolina nursing home’s responsibility to protect its residents. This responsibility includes guarding our elders from falls. While not every fall can be prevented, the rule is: safety first, safety always. Anything other than the safest choice creates needless risk, and that is unacceptable when it comes to the care of our seniors.
As a Columbia, SC elder abuse and neglect attorney, I am committed not only to advocating on behalf of injured seniors, but to ensuring their safety and reducing fall injuries. I hope this article provides some of the information you need in order to ask the right questions, find the right facility, and keep your loved ones safe.