Many nursing home patients in New York and throughout the country fall and harm themselves every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 of these nursing home accidents on an annual basis. Additionally, between half and three-fourths of all nursing home residents fall every year. However, the number of falls that occur in nursing homes is likely greater because many of these accidents are never reported.
Consequences for nursing home residents
Falling can result in serious consequences for the elderly. The CDC states that 1,800 people living in nursing homes die from falls every year and anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of these falls cause serious injuries. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services states that in addition to injuries, nursing home residents who survive a fall may also experience:
An increased risk of death
A reduced quality of life
An increased fear of falling in the future
Additionally, nursing home residents who fall may also experience injuries that decrease their ability to function normally. For example, according to the CDC, approximately 2 to 6 percent of nursing home falls result in fractures.
Common risk factors
While elderly people are more likely to fall because they often suffer from chronic diseases, acute medical conditions and a decrease in their strength and balance as they age, environmental hazards, unsafe equipment and hazardous personal care items can put nursing home residents at a greater risk of falling, states the DHHS. For instance, a nursing home resident may fall after he or she slips on an uneven floor, is forced to live in a cluttered area or uses a wheelchair with ineffective brakes.
Many nursing home residents are also given medications, like antipsychotics, that are designed to make them more compliant and affect their coordination and cause confusion. While the use of these medications is viewed as a form of nursing home abuse and chemical restraints are banned under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, The Huffington Post states that more than one out of every five patients living in a nursing home receives them anyway.
Falls are not isolated events