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Fort Lauderdale nursing homes falls often a preventable tragedy

Children are faced with the difficult decision of what to do when their elderly parents need assistance to live on their own or need the full-time care of a professional nursing environment.

We trust in the 24-hour care of a facility to keep our elderly loved one from having a nursing home fall in South Florida. Yet fall accidents are all too common in nursing home facilities as our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers often report.

In a previous blog posted on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog we reported on neglect in the nursing home and how it may lead to a facility’s sanction or closure. The decline in nursing home facilities available is a rising concern because we need options when it comes to having a safe place for our elderly loved ones.

Many older adults face fall hazards. But it is not inevitable that they fall and injure themselves — especially when the professional staff of a nursing facilities has been charged with their care in order to prevent just such a tragedy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that once reaching age 65 or older, 1 in 3 adults fall each year. Falls for this age group are the leading cause of death, as well as, non-fatal injuries.

In the last 10 years, fall accidents for men and women over 65 have risen dramatically. In 2009, over half a million older adults were hospitalized for non-fatal injuries leading to billions of dollars spent on medical costs for these fall accidents.

Most would think that if your elderly loved one is in a nursing home facility their risks for falling would diminish greatly. The CDC reports that approximately 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from falls. A facility occupying 100 beds typically reports 200 falls a year, and not all falls are reported. Falls in nursing homes occur at twice the rate of an elderly person living in a community. Nursing home residents average about 2.6 falls per person a year.

Based on these statistics we might ask why falls are more common in nursing homes. Other health issues may contribute to nursing home falls. Residents in nursing homes are generally weaker, have other chronic conditions, and have difficulty walking. Muscle weakness accounts for 24% of nursing home falls. Hazards like wet floors, poor lighting, or improper bed height cause 16%-27% of nursing home falls. Medications can also factor in the number of falls that take place each year in nursing homes.

Most children have a responsibility to take care of our elderly parents as they get older. Yet most people don’t have the luxury of quitting a job so that we can provide full-time care. Though the task may be difficult, finding the right facility is a key in preserving your loved ones health and security for many years to come.

If you suspect your elderly loved one has been abused or neglected in a health-care facility in West Palm Beach, Margate, Port St. Lucie, or Miami, contact the trial attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez, LLC to discuss your rights. For a free and confidential appointment call toll free at 1-800-529-2368.

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