Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Falls by First-Time Nursing Home Patients Linked to Lack of Trained Staff

"Identifying risk of falling is essential for implementing fall-prevention strategies and facilitating successful discharge back to the community," geriatrics researcher says.

By Mark Favaloro, Nursing Home Neglect Victims’ Attorney

The headline “One-Fifth of Nursing Home Residents Fall in First Month” caught my attention, but a detail disclosed in the June 25, 2012, HealthDay article really made me bristle. The online newsletter was reporting on study results published in the May 2012 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that revealed a majority of falls among first-time nursing home patients occurred in long-term care facilities with fewer certified nursing assistants than recommended by national staffing guidelines.

As this training video from Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine (ME), shows, preventing falls by elderly and weak patients is almost always possible. All a hospital, nursing home or assisted-living facility needs is enough trained personnel to help patients get out of bed, remain standing and move without losing their footing.



Researchers reviewed records for 230,730 people who entered U.S. nursing homes during 2006 and stayed for at least 30 days. They discovered that 21 percent – 47,750 — of the individuals fell. As shocking as the numbers themselves are, their import is even more alarming. As lead researcher Natalie Leland said in a press release, “A fall can delay or permanently prevent the patient from returning to the community, and identifying risk of falling is essential for implementing fall-prevention strategies and facilitating successful discharge back to the community.”

As an attorney who has represented several victims of nursing home neglect, I know that too many long-term care facilities are understaffed. Doctors, nurses, CNAs and other care providers rarely intentionally deny patients adequate care, they just get overworked and overwhelmed. Regardless, neglecting patients can never be completely excused. Each nursing home must do what it can to ensure every patient has access to trained staff.


About the Editors: The VA-NC medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton include medical and surgical malpractice lawyers licensed in both Virginia and Carolina. Our medical/hospital malpractice focus on personal injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctors’ mistakes, as well as nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see our track record of success in medical malpractice lawsuits, and also be sure to read our free medical malpractice reports Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider and Top 5 Surgical Errors. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America since 2008. They, along with fellow attorney Randy Appleton, have also been named Virginia Super Lawyers since 2010, an honor fewer than 5 percent of outstanding attorneys receive.