Getting older takes its toll on people's bodies and minds. Everything from the strength of the skeletal system to the flexibility of the joints declines as people age. Older adults have a harder time moving around and are more at risk for serious injuries to their bones and connective tissues.
Cognitive function, ranging from executive functioning abilities to memory, also begin to decline in later decades of life. The combination of more difficulty interpreting information and decreased agility often lends itself to the increased risk of falls in older adults, which are a leading cause of injury and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four American adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Many times, these falls result in serious injuries, ranging from sprains and strains to broken bones and long-term immobility. Part of the reason your loved one is in a nursing home is to ensure that they receive adequate care when you are not able to provide it. Nursing home staff should help protect your loved one from a fall, but they often fail to do exactly that.
Understaffing leaves mobility-compromised seniors at risk
In order to keep the costs of running a nursing home facility as low as possible, many care providers choose to drastically limit the amount of staff that they have caring for their residents. Unfortunately, understaffing creates a lot of risk for the residents.
For example, if many people in the facility all need support or assistance to stand up and go to the bathroom, most of those people could wind up waiting long amounts of time for their turn to relieve themselves. Those who simply can't wait may decide to try to do it themselves, potentially with tragic consequences.
Lack of staff can directly relate to lack of adequate support for older adults in nursing home facilities. Falls are typically preventable with adequate assistive technology, such as walkers, and appropriate levels of staff on duty to help residents.
Don't assume that falls happen all the time
Just because older adults can and do fall and get hurt on their own doesn't excuse a nursing home facility where older adults get hurt. You need to take time to look at your loved one's injuries and potentially even involve an outside physician for a more objective report.
The longer your loved one went without assistance and the more frequent these issues arise in the Illinois facility, the greater the potential that you have grounds for bringing legal action. Talking with an attorney about the issue can help you decide what steps to take next after a fall that results in an injury to your loved one.