Contact a Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Fall Lawyer for Caring and Aggressive Representation
South Florida has among the highest concentration of nursing homes and senior citizen care facilities of any state in the nation. The number one cause of avoidable injuries and deaths from accidents in nursing homes is slip, trip and fall accidents. Florida nursing home staffs have a special responsibility to make sure that the situations that cause slip, trip and fall accidents are eliminated or minimized at all costs. In fact, Florida’s Nursing Home Patient Bill of Rights requires nursing homes to provide adequate and appropriate health care and protective services to ensure a frail patient doesn’t slip and fall or trip and fall when trying to move about their room. If your loved one suffered injuries from a fall in a Florida nursing home, our Fort Lauderdale nursing home fall attorneys are here to help.
Nursing Home Falls Should Not Be Treated Like Other Slip and Fall Cases
Personal injury attorneys in South Florida handle a large number of slip and fall cases, and many firms address falls in nursing homes the same way they would a fall in a grocery store. This is a mistake.
A nursing home is a unique environment where residents pay for specialized care. In a store, the property owner owes only an ordinary duty of care to patrons. However, much more is expected in a facility that cares for elderly patients who are more likely to fall and face the risk of much more severe injuries when they do because of the health complications associated with aging.
Risk Assessment for Nursing Home Residents
The federal government requires nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid to assess residents according to particular guidelines. This evaluation includes the “Minimum Data Set” (MDS) of certain conditions that must be examined. Among other things, the assessment covers residents’ functional capabilities to help identify health problems or areas of concern. A patient’s fall history is a critical part of this assessment.
When a nursing home fails to conduct a proper assessment, particularly if they understate the fall risk, the patient may be placed in considerable danger. Fort Lauderdale nursing home fall attorneys know a crucial job on the part of the nursing home staff is to prevent injuries caused by falls, and if the risk of falling is not properly assessed and made known to staff, they are likely to fail.
Proper Application of a Care Plan for Nursing Home Residents
A nursing home patient’s risk assessment is used to create a care plan to meet that patient’s needs. If the evaluation is flawed, the plan will not be sufficient to protect the resident. But that is not the only problem that may be associated with care plans. Difficulties arise when:
- The measures put in place to prevent falls are inadequate
- The plan is not carried out on a daily basis
- The plan is not reviewed regularly to account for changes in the patient’s functionality
- The plan is not revised appropriately to meet the patient’s needs
Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home fall lawyers will look for evidence of failure in any one of these areas and use that to establish liability for injuries suffered in a fall.
Bathroom Falls are Common in Nursing Homes
Getting in and out of the bathtub and shower is obviously a hazardous moment for any senior citizen. Many seniors also require assistance getting in the shower or tub as well as attendance while washing or bathing. This is where a senior can slip and break a hip, a shoulder, their back or strike their head on the toilet, sink or tub. There is no excuse for leaving a senior citizen unattended when bathing. If you have a loved one who has been seriously injured in such a slip and fall accident, please call the Fort Lauderdale nursing home fall attorneys at the Maus Law Firm immediately.
Unmarked Changes in Floor Surfaces
Many seniors use a walker to get from place to place inside the home. It is common for the type of flooring material to be carpet in one area and change to tiled flooring the next and the traction of the walker can go from firm to slippery in seconds, causing the walker to lurch forward and the senior citizen to strike their face on the hard tile floor. The resulting injury can be a broken jaw, broken teeth or in some cases a whiplash and concussion.
Can I File a Claim if My Loved One Falls on Buckled Carpeting?
Even when a senior citizen can walk on their own without an aid, seniors walk slowly and take small steps, sometimes shuffling along and not lifting their feet very high. If a carpet is worn out or even slightly buckled the senior will trip and fall forward, resulting in the same type of injuries they would incur with any type of fall. A nursing home’s failure to straighten our carpet or rugs is evidence of negligence, and is in violation of the Patient Bill of Rights. The nursing home can be found negligent and responsible for causing a hazard that they knew or should have known existed.
Additional Nursing Home Obligations
In addition to carrying out proper risk assessments and creating and following appropriate care plans, nursing homes have numerous other obligations to provide for the safety of residents and reduce the risk of falls. For instance, they must hire, train, and schedule staff so that they are adequately prepared to carry out their responsibilities. Hiring someone without the capacity to pay attention, failing to provide training to prevent falls, or overscheduling staff so that they are too tired to perform appropriately are all actions that could contribute to the cause of a fall. A skilled Fort Lauderdale nursing home fall lawyer will use evidence of these failures to hold a long-term care facility accountable for resulting injuries.
Our Nursing Home Trip and Fall Attorneys are Here to Help
Negligent conditions at nursing homes can be prevented. All it takes is a little vigilance on the part of the staff, and training on the part of the nursing home. Simple things like periodic inspections of the facilities can minimize or eliminate slip and fall accidents. If you have a loved one who has been injured in a trip, slip and fall accident in a South Florida nursing home, please give the Fort Lauderdale nursing home accident attorneys at the Maus Law Firm a call for a free consultation to see if the nursing home may have been negligent.