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Falls and the elderly: A troubling issue without an easy solution

When elderly loved ones are in the care of medical professionals, we expect that they will be treated with compassion and dignity. They are, after all, vulnerable and often dependent on nurses, support staff and doctors.

However, while many people receive a standard level of care in a hospital, nursing home or other care facility, many do not. And too often, this leads to serious – and preventable – accidents, including falls.

How serious is the risk of falling?

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of adults over the age of 65 report a falling incident per year. And in 2016, more than 29,600 people over 65 died as a result of falling accident. The risk of falling increases as people get older, too.

What can facilities do to protect residents?

While some falling accidents may not be preventable, many can be with diligent care and consistent support.

For instance, nursing home facilities can provide patients with adequate, trained support staff to help them move around. They can ensure walkways are clear and well-lit. Doctors can also regularly check in with residents to assess their fall risk.

Sadly, there is no way to protect every person from falling, especially as they get older and more susceptible to falling accidents. However, care facilities can take these and other basic steps to keep premises – and patients – safe.

What can victims and families do after a fall?

Unfortunately, not all facilities take the steps necessary to prevent falls and protect elderly patients. If your loved one was injured in a falling accident caused by negligent or improper care in a nursing home, then you can consult an attorney to discuss the legal options. In many cases, your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation for damages suffered in this type of accident.

If your loved one is fatally injured in this type of accident, you may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim. Again, consulting an attorney to better understand your legal options will be crucial.