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Hip fractures and other injuries can be avoided by limiting the use of antipsychotic drugs and improving staffing at nursing homes to reduce the number of falls, according to researchers at Brown University. Nursing home falls are serious – they can lead to severe injuries and even death for elderly residents. A recent study looked at the data for more than 200,000 nursing home residents from 2007 to 2008 and concluded that nursing home falls can be reduced.
One of the recommendations was adequate staffing to avoid nursing home falls. The researchers found that nursing homes that provided less direct care to residents showed a higher rate of falls.
The other recommendation to limit nursing home falls is to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications, or psychotropic drugs. The study concluded that falls were more common in nursing homes that had a higher percentage of residents on psychoactive medications.
Nursing home falls can lead to serious injuries and even death. Falls account for the death of a person over 65 every 20 minutes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2014, nearly 30 million people over the age of 65 fell, with 20 percent suffering serious injuries because of a fall.
Serious injuries from nursing home falls include hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. Every year there are 3.13 hip fractures per 100 people.
Further, those who suffer a fall are more likely to fall again, increasing their risk for injury.
“Hip fractures are significant adverse events in U.S. given their high associated morbidity, mortality, and expense. Resident-specific risk factors for hip fracture have been well established and overlap with risk factors for falls, because hip fractures often occur in the setting of a fall,” noted the Brown study.
The study noted that nursing home regulations vary across states. Other factors in nursing home falls included the profit status, size, and chain affiliation, according to the researchers.
While the Brown University study found that there were a number of unexplained fractures, injuries like hip fractures are most likely to occur in a nursing home fall.
“Much of the variation in hip fracture incidence remained unexplained, although these findings indicate that potentially modifiable state and facility characteristics such as psychoactive drug prescribing and minimum staffing requirements could be addressed to help reduce the rate of hip fracture in U.S. ,” the nursing home study found.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home falls can be a part of a larger picture of nursing home abuse. A recent Congressional report found that 30 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for abuse. In addition to physical injuries, nursing home residents also suffer psychologically and emotionally from abuse and neglect in these cases.
In response, those in the industry cite low funding and an inability to retain trained staff as contributors to the problem of nursing home falls and other abuse. With a huge number of baby boomers set to enter into nursing homes and other senior care, members of Congress have vowed to find a solution to the problem.
If you or a loved one has suffered a nursing home fall, contact the experienced attorneys at McDonald Worley to help evaluate your claim.