Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are an important part of care for aging and infirm people. They assist seniors with daily activities, administer health care services, and help families who may not be capable of caring for a loved one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 1.4 million people, aged 65 and older, live in nursing homes and assisted living care facilities.
One of the most serious risks for seniors in or out of a nursing home are falls. Most people realize the immediate risk of a fall—broken bones, head trauma, and the like—that can affect seniors. Fractures of the hip, femur and pelvis are most common, followed by the humerus, forearm and bones in the hand.
Most people do not realize the fall can be fatal over the months following, even if the initial broken bone is treated. Falls can result in a reduced quality of life, including a loss of functional behavior and feelings of isolation, depression and helplessness. According to the Mayo Clinic, broken bones, and particularly a broken hip, can result in serious complications and even a shortened life. Immobile seniors are at risk for deep vein thrombosis, bedsores, urinary tract infections, loss of muscle mass, infections like pneumonia, and more.
Nearly 1,800 seniors living in nursing homes die each year because of fall-related injuries.
Falls are all too common in nursing homes. A typical nursing home with 100 beds can have anywhere between 100-200 falls per year, with many of them going undocumented.
Negligence in nursing homes is a serious, recurring issue. In fact, almost one in every ten seniors experiences some type of elder abuse, equating to more than 2 million cases reported each year. Hazards such as wet floors, poor lighting and improper walking aids can cause falls, in addition to poorly trained staff and acts of carelessness.