Elderly people are often weak, with balance problems that exacerbate their frailty. When they live in nursing homes or other types of care facilities, our loved ones are vulnerable to falls and resulting fractures when the facility fails to provide adequate patient oversight and assistance devices.
Our compassionate lawyers assist elderly clients who suffered nursing home slip and falls in San Francisco. We work closely with patients and their families to determine exactly what happened and how the fall affected them. We consult frequently with medical experts and gerontologists to identify the negligence that caused the fall and determine how the care facility deviated from the accepted standard of care.
Our legal team seeks compensation that can help our clients. Equally important, we strive to hold the owners and operators of care facilities responsible for the negligence that resulted in our clients’ falls and injures. We believe that this is a small but important step toward improving the level of care our elderly loved ones receive in nursing homes and other residential care facilities.
What are the Most Serious Consequences of a Fall at a Nursing Home?
The consequences of a fall at a nursing home can be incredibly severe. In fact, a fall is often the catalyst that leads to a dramatic decline in health for seniors. When seniors suffer a bad fall, they may lose the ability to walk and be mobile. This in turn leads to all kinds of additional issues.
For example, a senior who has suffered a bad fall might find themselves bed-ridden for months or even years as they try to recover. If the fall was caused by negligence, then this neglect can continue after the senior becomes confined to a bed. In fact, in many ways neglect can become even worse after a senior is bed-ridden.
Seniors who are bed-ridden may not have the ability to seek help for their various ailments. In effect, they are totally at the mercy of nursing home staff. They now have to wait until staff members come to them. Previously, they might have been able to seek out help on their own terms.
If seniors are left unattended for long periods of time in their beds, they can easily develop bedsores. This serious form of infection is a clear sign of neglect, and it can lead to serious health problems and even death. If a nursing home is so negligent that they allow seniors to fall, there is a high chance they will also allow them to develop bedsores once they are confined to their beds.
When a senior loses the ability to walk freely, they may also find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Walking is a great source of exercise, and seniors can easily become quite unhealthy if they cannot get out of bed. This might dramatically reduce a senior’s life expectancy after a fall.
Of course, there are the immediate consequences of a fall to consider, as well. A fall can lead to a range of injuries, including a fractured hip, broken wrists, internal bleeding, and a traumatic brain injury. All of these issues can be serious, and many are life-threatening. Hip injuries, in particular, are quite serious for elderly fall victims, as they can easily become infected. In fact, infection after a fractured hip is one of the leading causes of death for seniors.
Signs of a Poorly-Designed Nursing Home
Nursing home operators need to be very careful when designing and planning out their facilities. Fall hazards must be a top concern during this planning process – if not the prime concern. When seniors plan to age in place, they take tremendous steps to “senior-proof” their homes in a number of ways. Almost everything aspect of the home must be examined carefully for possible hazards, especially fall hazards. On that same note, nursing homes must be wary of fall hazards at all times. If they fail to take necessary steps, they could be held liable for injuries.
Here are some signs of a poorly designed nursing home:
Dimly-Lit Stairwells, Hallways, and Walking Areas: Light is one of the most underappreciated aspects of safety. If you cannot see where you are walking, it is easy to fall. This is especially true for seniors, who often suffer from poor eyesight due to their deteriorating health. Dimly-lit stairwells are particularly hazardous, as one wrong step can lead to a serious, life-threatening tumble.
Understaffed: When it comes to spotting fall hazards, the more staff members the better. Facilities that are severely understaffed may go weeks or even months before realizing that certain fall hazards exist. Even a torn piece of carpet or a small water leak can send seniors tumbling to the floor. Understaffed facilities are also much more likely to be negligent, since they are already breaking pre-established regulations regarding how many staff members should be present for each senior.
Poorly-Designed Bathrooms: Fall hazards are especially problematic in bathrooms. Seniors are much more likely to slip when getting in and out of bathtubs and showers. This is why it is so important to install senior-friendly bathroom features, like low-rise shower curbs and as many handrails as possible. If these features are lacking, it is definitely not a good sign.
Can I Really Receive a Settlement From a Nursing Home?
People sue nursing homes all the time in the San Francisco area, and plaintiffs often receive considerable settlements that can reach into the millions of dollars. Courts in California take these matters very seriously, and they are likely to hold nursing homes accountable for any negligence whatsoever.
Nursing Home Falls
Our clients have suffered falls in the bathroom because they were not trained in use of the grab bars. They have fallen out of bed because side rails were not properly installed or raised. They have tripped on torn carpet and slipped on wet floors. They have been allowed to walk unsupervised, or fallen out of wheelchairs because they were not properly secured. Overmedication has made them weak and unable to use walkers correctly. Because monitors and call buttons went unanswered, patients tried to get to bathrooms or raise their beds themselves, with disastrous results. They have suffered broken hips, leg fractures, head injuries and wrongful death as a result of this type of neglect.
Getting Help with a Nursing Home Slip and Fall Claim in San Francisco
If you are looking for legal help with a nursing home slip and fall claim in San Francisco, schedule a consultation today.