Falls and Fractures: Protecting Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

  • Posted on Oct. 17th, 2014

nursing home care, eldercare, caregiver, caregivingBy Len Haberman, Esq

Nursing home falls are actually more commonplace than a lot of people realise and as seniors are more vulnerable by nature anyway, a fracture or bad fall can have damaging circumstances.

Tragic injuries can occur to loved ones when they have a fall at their nursing home. They can cause many different types of injuries, some of which have long-term or even fatal consequences. Compensation can sometimes be available if there is a case of neglect leading up to the fall or how they were treated immediately afterwards.

Read more here about some common scenarios and likely outcomes relating to making a claim where the nursing homes are at fault. This article outlines some of the common causes of nursing home falls and what to do when an accident happens or an injury occurs.

Common causes

One of the most common causes for a fall is when the nursing home fails to provide a safe environment that takes into account the raised level of vulnerability of the elderly residents to suffer a fall-related injury.

Nursing homes are required to complete a fall-risk assessment process but more often than is acceptable, it transpires that these assessments have either gone missing or have simply not been completed with the right level of care.

A number of residents in nursing homes will require access to special medical equipment or specially adapted beds in order to reduce the risk of a fall, but this is not always made available to them. Any resident who has a mental or physical disability will also be more susceptible to a fall and this is not always taken into account.

Higher odds

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that around 1,800 nursing home residents die each year as a result from injuries sustained from a fall.

These injuries can be broken bones or a traumatic brain injury. Even those that survive a bad fall can sometimes be left with some permanent disabilities, which unfortunately have an impact on their ongoing quality of life.

It is understood that there are almost double the amount of falls in nursing homes than there are for seniors living in their community. A typical nursing home with about 100 beds, will report somewhere between 100 and 200 falls a year, which is worryingly high ratio of accidents to residents.


These figures could be reduced if there was adequate supervision of residents, especially those that have been identified as being more vulnerable and susceptible to a fall.

Staff working in nursing homes can often work long shifts and this can possibly leave gaps in the level of care and supervision required to maintain safety levels, due to the fact that these workers are fatigued.

If an elderly resident has taken a fall, they require close observation for a period afterwards to ensure that those involved, are not suffering from any internal wounds or bleeding. The worst case scenario happens when the nursing home fails to monitor the resident after a fall and this lack of close observation leads to an intracranial haemorrhage, with fatal consequences.

If you find out that your loved one has suffered a fall at their nursing home, make sure that you ask about the care and attention they have received immediately afterwards and check to ensure that they are monitoring for any signs of health issues as a result of the incident.

Len Haberman, Esq., works as a nursing home attorney in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. When he has the time, he enjoys sharing his experiences with others. You can find his enlightening articles on many legal and senior living websites today.

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Aging in Place and Remodeling

  • Posted on Oct. 9th, 2014

When your multigenerational family outgrows your home or needs aging in place options a remodel can help

By Kaye Swain

Are you caring for an elderly parent at home and toying with the idea of remodeling your home for any one of a variety of reasons, including adding aging in place options? Is the whole thought of dealing with a remodel scaring you? Especially when you are juggling that with caregiving responsibilities?

I know just how you feel! We added a bedroom and bathroom to our vintage 1940s home years ago to make room for our growing family. I stressed over the thought of all the dust getting everywhere, having strangers in my home all through the day, and if there would be times when the remodel could lead to areas that could not be locked at night.

We ended up working with contractors who were friends from church and over all, it went well. Even though there were some difficulties that arose while working with our friends, the high comfort level it gave me to know them made it all worthwhile.

I was reading an article about remodeling this week, which reminded me of that situation AND made me think through if it would be better or worse doing it now with aged parents.

Personally, I think I’d have a lot of the same concerns with my elderly parents. For example:

  • Nails, dust, and messes! Elderly seniors probably won’t put things in their mouth like a toddler or go play hide and seek in the workman’s area like older kids but they can definitely be a bit on the wobbly side so it would be vital for the contractor to be aware of that issue and work carefully to avoid hazards for our beloved seniors.
  • A door that can be locked is vital for all ages and particularly so for aging parents who may be in the stages of dementia that includes wandering, like my great aunt once upon a time. Communicating this issue with your contractor is definitely vital. Our guys knew our concerns about our young children and never left for the day without making sure our home was secure.
  • Construction workers who are safe around the family. I wanted people I knew and trusted around my family and I would want the same for the family living with me in this season of life. I discussed this carefully with my friends and they assured me they were cautious about who they hired. And thankfully, we never had any issues. Whether you hire someone you know or a stranger, be sure to thoroughly check out who you do hire – including at the governmental licensing agency they are under and the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and make sure to hire someone who is licensed and bonded. And again, communication with the person in charge is key.

Remodeling, whether to add a room for a growing family or to add aging in place options for elderly parents, is never an easy process. Careful research and good communication are important components to making it go smoothly and safely.

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Look Ma no hands

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  • Posted on Sep. 24th, 2014

elderlyBy Joy Loverde

If you like to listen to TED Talks as much as I do then you might have come across the lecture by Bran Ferren and his presentation, “To create for the ages, let’s combine art and engineering.”

When Bran Ferren was nine years old his parents took him to see the Pantheon in Rome — and it changed everything. In that moment, he began to understand how the tools of science and engineering become more powerful when combined with art, design and beauty. Ever since then he’s been searching for a convincing modern-day equivalent to Rome’s masterpiece. At the end of his TED Talk is a brilliant suggestion for the next big leap for mankind – the autonomous vehicle.

The reason I bring up the topic of mobility has everything to do with the sad state of affairs we are in right now as it relates to older drivers.

A survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance (1,000 adults aged 75 and older) reveals that despite declining physical abilities, the majority of drivers get behind the wheel regularly: 16 percent saying they tire easily or have slow reaction times; 13 percent reporting difficulty seeing or hearing; and 9 percent reporting getting lost and/or feeling confused while driving.

On the other hand there is some good news, and that is 85 percent of the people surveyed said they have avoided at least some type of driving condition or location, including driving after dark, during heavy traffic hours or in unfamiliar areas.

We all know the drill. People of all ages can’t even begin to think about the idea of life without driving. Losing independence, becoming less active, difficulty finding alternative forms of transportation, and feeling isolated is to be avoided at all costs. Looking to the near future of autonomous vehicles offers great hope in solving this human dilemma – and they can’t get here soon enough.

In the meantime, have the conversation with your parents about driving and alternatives to driving. Check out the talking tips in the “Transportation and Mobility” chapter in The Complete Eldercare Planner. The transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat is gradual, and understanding available transportation alternatives will help older drivers maintain their independence, mobility and social engagement essential for a quality of life.

When everybody becomes responsible and makes plans to retire from driving, wonderful and unexpected things will come out of it. You can be sure of that.


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