A recently published study that reviewed data from Medicare and Medicaid involving more than 230,000 new nursing home residents in almost 10,000 nursing homes throughout the United States during 2006 found that 21% of them fell at least one time during their first 30 days in the nursing home. Falls in nursing homes are responsible for a significant number of avoidable injuries and death for nursing home residents.
Not surprisingly, the researchers determined that a higher ratio of certified nursing assistants (CNAs), who typically provide the direct care and assistance to nursing home residents such as help getting to the bathroom, assistance with dressing, and assistance getting into and out of bed, results in less falls among nursing home residents. Many new residents of nursing homes are admitted with the goal to provide rehabilitative care so that the new residents may be discharged to home, as opposed to long-term care in which the residents are expected to become permanent residents of the nursing homes.
When a new nursing home resident who is admitted for short-term care falls and is seriously and/or permanently injured, medical expenses and long-term care expenses that result from the fall are substantial as well as unexpected. Injuries from falls not only take a physical toll on the injured residents but also cause emotional trauma to both the new residents and their families who must now deal with the change in circumstances that may have been avoided if proper care had been provided.
Avoidable nursing home falls and injuries may be substantially reduced if the proper level of nursing home staff is provided during all shifts (the level of nursing home staffing is typically reduced to some extent during the night, when most residents are asleep and need a lower level of attention and care). Because each staff member hired, trained, and working at the nursing home costs the owners of the nursing home an incremental amount of money, there is a strong financial incentive to reduce staff (“cut corners”) when inappropriate that may cause injuries to residents because each dollar saved on paying staff is a dollar in the pockets of nursing home owners.
Nursing home advocates (those who work to protect the interests and the well-being of nursing home residents) charge that nursing homes that knowingly provide inadequate staffing and/or inadequate care to their residents often place their profits over people. Poorly or inadequately staffed nursing homes that try to save money in providing services and care may actually incur greater costs and expenses when nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse results in lawsuits and/or fines due to nursing home negligence.
If a measure of the level of our national compassion is the manner in which we treat and care for our elderly and infirmed, then we must demand that a better job is done in our nursing homes so that residents receive the care and attention that they deserve.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of nursing home negligence, the assistance from a nursing home attorney (medical malpractice attorney) may help you investigate your possible nursing home claim.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with nursing home lawyers (medical malpractice lawyers) in your state who may be able to help you with your claim.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.