Each year, nearly one million people fall while they are patients in hospitals and nursing homes, according to the federal government. These falls result in injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to hip fractures or other broken bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and even death. Particularly among elderly patients, a fall can easily lead to disability, functional decline and reduced quality of life.
Hospitals, nursing homes and similar residential care facilities in South Carolina have a legal duty to protect the safety and well-being of patients and residents. Many falls in hospitals and nursing homes could have been prevented through planning and appropriate patient care.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fall at a hospital or nursing home, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.
Just Call Joye Law Firm
Our personal injury lawyers work with injured patients and their families to help them recover the financial assistance they deserve. Contact us now for a free claim review and advice about your legal rights.
Hospital and Nursing Home Falls are Common But Preventable
A federal study says every year somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million people in the United States fall while in the hospital. Between 30 and 51 percent of falls in hospitals result in some injury. Close to a third of these falls could be prevented, researchers for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) say.
More than 1.5 million Americans age 65 and older live in nursing homes, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between half and three-quarters of them suffer a fall each year. About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries. Those who survive frequently have injuries that result in permanent disability.
Among the most common fall injuries in hospitals and nursing homes are:
- Hip fractures
- Other broken bones (arms, wrists, hands, legs, ankles and facial fractures)
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and bruises (lacerations and contusions)
Even less-severe injuries are potentially grave for a patient who already has medical problems or who is frail or infirm due to age. A fall can also create a fear of falling, which causes the patient to retreat and suffer further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness and social isolation.
The AHRQ report says a number of practices have been shown to reduce the risk of patients falling, but these practices are not used systematically in all hospitals. The CDC says fall-prevention measures can be implemented at the organizational, staff and patient levels.
Hospitals and nursing homes should understand their patients’ risk factors for falls, including:
- Mobility deficiencies, including muscle weakness and walking or gait problems
- Mental problems, such as confusion, disorientation and memory problems
- Side effects from medications, such as dizziness or weakness
- Frequent toileting needs from medication or physical problems
Nursing homes and hospitals should also be aware of design and environmental hazards that can lead to falls, such as wet floors, poor lighting, lack of handrails, incorrect bed height, and improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs or walkers.
We Investigate Nursing Home and Hospital Falls in SC
The personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm want to help if you are dealing with injuries suffered in a nursing home or hospital fall. In many cases, family members find out well after the fact that a patient has been injured in a fall. Sometimes patients are unable to speak for themselves to explain how they were hurt.
This may make it easier for a hospital or nursing home to deny liability for a fall and related injuries. However, an independent investigation of a fall and a lawsuit on the patient’s behalf could make a nursing home or hospital take a family’s questions and concerns seriously.
The lawyers at Joye Law Firm take accidents and injuries at hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes and other long-term care facilities seriously. We work hard to obtain full and fair compensation for our clients.
Our Lawyers Help Victims of Falls in SC Hospitals and Nursing Homes
If you or a family member has fallen and been injured while in a hospital, nursing home or other medical care facility in South Carolina, Joye Law Firm can help. You may be entitled to money to assist with medical care, pain and suffering and other losses.
Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our contact form for a free and confidential discussion of your legal options.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Preventing Falls in Hospitals
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Falls in Nursing Homes