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Falls in Pennsylvania nursing homes may be signs of neglect


There are countless types of medical negligence that can affect any type of patient in Pennsylvania. From someone who is just in the emergency room for a few hours to the long-term resident of a group home, those who can be impacted by negligence or


medical malpractice


are as diverse as the state's medical landscape. Given today's aging population, though, many residents of Erie may be wondering about negligence as it pertains to their loved one in a nursing home.

As with medical negligence in general, there are myriad ways in which negligence can be apparent in a nursing home setting. One of the most common ways in which negligence may affect a resident is through a fall. Since their residents tend to be vulnerable and often physically infirm, it's not unusual for falling to be a threat to safety in such an environment. Still, nursing home staff are tasked with maintaining resident safety and this includes preventing avoidable falls whenever possible.

Staff usually perform a risk assessment on new residents, which includes reviewing any past falls or accidents and treating the resident accordingly. Allowing patients proper access to assistance, such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs, is very basic but sometimes overlooked in the rush of day-to-day operations. In addition, careful monitoring of patients to ensure they can't wander unsupervised is also crucial in fall prevention.

The statistics on falls could give anyone with a loved one in a nursing home cause for concern: about 1,800 residents of nursing homes die annually due to injuries from falls, and those older than 65 see their chances of dying from a fall quadruple if they live in a nursing home when compared with those who live at home or with family. Finally, the primary cause of avoidable trips to the emergency room among the elderly is fall-related injuries.

While the subjects of nursing home injury or group home injury are understandably unpleasant, the truth is the elderly are a rapidly-growing segment of the population. Thus, more and more Pennsylvanians will have to cope with these issues in the future. Anyone who suspects a loved one's fall could have been prevented can benefit from researching their legal options.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "


Falls in Nursing Homes


," accessed on Sept. 17, 2014

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