More than 1/3 of All Seniors Who Fall Hit Their Heads

By Josh Silverman on October 10, 2013

Yesterday I blogged about the dangers of falling for the elderly.  Perhaps timely, this morning I received a Google news alert about a study showing over 1/3 of all seniors who fall hit their heads.  Click here to read the article.  In comparison, very few younger persons hit their heads when they fall.  Much of the difference comes from decreased upper body strength.  A younger person who trips will use their hands to catch themselves. 

The study is consistent with my recent cases.  This year I represented the family of a woman who died while falling out of a mechanical lift at a nursing home in western Virginia.  Earlier I represented the daughter of a gentleman who fell at a Richmond area nursing home.  Both nursing home residents tragically suffered fatal head injuries.  Their cases settled under confidential terms.  I am currently investigating another case involving a patient who died after falling at a Richmond area nursing home.

There are several takeaways from this study and my recent cases.  The first is the most obvious and that is that nursing homes need to be proactive in recognizing fall risks and using all available resources to prevent falls.  This includes increasing the amount of time staff members spend with residents, utilizing bed and chair alarms, and anticipating when a nursing home resident will need to use the bathroom or need water.  The second is less obvious and that is to reduce injuries nursing homes can put a greater emphasis on physical rehabilitation.  By increasing upper body strength, falls will likely produce fewer serious injuries. 

For more information about the Silverman Law Firm's nursing home practice, click here or call us for more information at (804) 325-4992.

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