There were 1.5 million people age 65 and older who lived in nursing homes in the U.S. in 2003, and that number is expected to rise to 3 million by the year 2030. About 5% of adults 65 and older live in nursing homes but they account for 20% of all deaths from falls in people 65 and older.
Nursing Home Fall Statistics
Three out of four nursing home residents fall each year (twice the number of falls than for people 65 and older who are not nursing home residents). The average number of falls per person per year in nursing homes is 2.6 (this number reflects multiple falls per person per year). Those residents who are not ambulatory in nursing homes (those persons who cannot walk) experience approximately 35% of the falls in nursing homes.
Falls in nursing homes result in about 1,800 deaths of residents per year. In addition to deaths, falls in nursing homes result in serious injuries approximately 10% to 20% of the time and serious fractures in about 2 to 6% of the falls.
On average, a nursing home with 100 beds will report 100 to 200 falls per year (many falls go unreported).
Hazards in nursing homes such as wet floors, inadequate lighting, improper wheelchairs, etc., cause about 16% to 27% of nursing home falls.
Just the fear of falling can cause further emotional deterioration and debilitation for nursing home residents.
Fall Prevention In Nursing Homes
Upon admission to the nursing home and at appropriate times during residency, nursing home residents must be properly assessed and re-assessed to determine their risk of falling and to properly and timely implement appropriate fall precautions such as treating underlying medical conditions that raise the risk of falls; training nursing home staff about fall risks and fall prevention methods; monitoring prescribed medications to reduce their effect on the risks of falls; utilizing grab bars, raising toilet seats, and lowering beds; using bed alarms to warn when fall risk patients get out of bed or out of wheelchairs; placing mats on the floor by the beds of residents who are at a high risk of falling; removing tripping hazards; making sure the residents have the appropriate shoes, socks, or booties on their feet; etc. Providing proper exercise may also help reduce fall risks by improving balance, strength, and physical endurance of nursing home residents.
The use of restraints including side rails on beds have not been shown to reduce fall risks and may increase fall-related injuries and deaths.
If you or a loved one fell while in a nursing home and sustained injuries or death, visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to represent you in a medical malpractice claim against the nursing home. You may also reach us by calling our toll free number 800-295-3959.