How are Falls Prevented in Assisted Living Facilities?

Stopping Falls in an Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Fall Prevention

Post updated May 20, 2019.

We bring a lot of lawsuits against assisted living facilities and personal care homes at Senior Justice Law Firm. Falls are by far the most common injury sued over in our assisted living facility lawsuits.

Some nursing home falls are preventable while others are unpreventable. But in assisted living facilities, the standard of care is not that of a nursing home. Despite this lower level of care, the law requires assisted living facilities to employ fall preventative techniques. So how are ‘preventable ALF falls’ prevented?

#1. Properly Assess Fall Risk Upon Admission

In order to prevent falls in assisted living, you need to know who is at risk for falling. Federal regulations require that every ALF resident be assessed for fall risk. Fall risk assessment can be completed through a Morse Fall Score assessment.

#2 Reassess Fall Risk After Changes in Condition

A resident can be admitted 3 years ago as an alert, oriented and independent walker. This may change as their confusion or gait deteriorates. As a result, when the resident’s condition changes, the assisted living facility must re-assess the resident’s fall risk.

#3 Assist At-Risk Residents to the Toilet

Most assisted living facility falls occur during trips to the bathroom. For this reason, it is important to educate residents to use the call bell when they need to use the restroom. Also, a toileting schedule can be initiated for residents who suffer from confusion or memory loss.

#4 Remove Clutter and Debris from Rooms and Hallways

Resident apartments should be free of clutter and fall hazards. Many assisted living facility residents use walkers and wheelchairs, so wide unobstructed hallways are a must.

#5 Chair Alarms and Bed Alarms

For confused residents that do not follow instruction, bed and chair alarms ring when they get up and attempt to walk without assistance.

#6 Low Beds and Floor Pads

ALF Fall risk residents should have low beds and pads around their bed in order to prevent injury in the event of a fall.

#7 Adequate Staff Numbers

Facilities like to understaff in order to make more money. The A.L.F. should provide adequate staff numbers in order to supervise and assist residents while walking.

#8 Personal Aides or Private Duty Aides

In light of the low staff numbers in assisted living, there are oftentimes not enough hands on deck. If repeated falls are a problem in the A.L.F., management may (or should) recommend that you hire a part time private aide for your parent. Private aides provide 1 to 1 care and supervision. This greatly reduces falls in assisted living.

#9 Sending High Acuity Residents Out!

You have to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. If an assisted living facility cannot stop falls in a resident, they need to discharge the resident to a higher care facility, like a skilled nursing home. Recently, there has been a shift in the booming assisted living industry regarding falls. The industry is recognizing it needs to do more to prevent assisted living falls by integrating a medical care component into assisted living.

#10 Bringing Lawsuits Over Preventable Assisted Living Fall Injuries

It is considered assisted living malpractice to simply allow a resident to continuously fall. Most of our ALF fall lawsuits involve a resident who suffers a series of falls without appropriate interventions. Instead of analyzing the care plan or determining appropriateness for continued residency, the ALF simply ignores the problem, keeps the resident in-house and fails to propose any changes. As a result, the falls continue and eventually, one results in serious harm or death to the resident.

In order to stop this cycle, you must hit the assisted living facility in the pocketbook. By taking money from the facility, you are ensuring that this kind of negligence does not happen again. When a CEO has to sign a large settlement check, he or she will surely get the attention of the director, the head nurse and all the facility staff. In our experience as assisted living negligence lawyers, some of the best practices come out of a corporation wanting to make sure they do not have to pay out large civil suit settlements.

ALF Fall Lawsuits

If you believe your loved one wrongfully fell and injured themselves, contact our skilled assisted living facility abuse attorneys today to discuss your potential ALF fall lawsuit.

The lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm are here to help. Call us for your free assisted living facility malpractice case evaluation: 1-844-253-8919.

Failing to Prevent Assisted Living Falls Grounds for a Lawsuit

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