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Reducing Injuries In Nursing Homes: Study Shows Many Nursing Home Accidents Are Preventable

May 20, 2014 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse | Share

When a family member makes the decision to put an individual in a nursing home, he or she expects that facility to take the best care possible of his or her loved one. However, as the Fort Myers personal injury lawyers at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. know, receiving good care is not always at the top of facility owners' minds. In fact, Randall Spivey notes that "there are many documented examples of nursing home and assisted living facility abuse--inadequate care, bed sores, infections, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment and/or financial and material exploitation."

Given the number of accidents and injuries that occur at nursing facilities throughout Florida and the U.S., the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General recently released a study focusing on adverse events that take place in skilled nursing facilities, with a particular focus on incidents that occur amongst those receiving Medicare. 

The Study

A number of studies were conducted by the agency regarding adverse events at hospitals from 2008 through 2012. Additionally, those conducting the studies examined the post-acute care that was provided by skilled nursing facilities after the individuals left the hospital. The study revealed that approximately 22 percent of all individuals who were receiving Medicare experienced some type of adverse event during their stay at a nursing facility, and an additional 11 percent suffered temporary harm during their stays. It was ultimately determined that 59 percent of those who suffered an adverse event and/or temporary harm did so unnecessarily as those issues were likely or even clearly preventable.

Generally speaking, the study shines a light on the growing issue of nursing home injuries and accidents that can be avoided if the facilities would place more focus on ensuring the safety and proper care of those entrusted to them.

One of the Leading Causes of Nursing Home Injuries and Deaths

Unfortunately, many Fort Myers personal injury lawyers may have learned over the years from their clients that a growing concern for nursing home facilities has become the "wandering" patient. Many elderly individuals, particularly those suffering from issues such as Alzheimer's and dementia, tend to stray away from their nursing homes. Lately, wandering away from the home has been a leading cause of death and/or injury of patients, and although the facilities are responsible for preventing such incidents, they still occur at alarming rates.

However, there are things that a nursing home facility can do to prevent wandering. To be sure, failure to properly supervise residents, insufficient staffing and faulty alarm systems throughout a facility all play a role in contributing to the risk of having wandering patients. Still, nursing homes must ensure the safety and supervision of their patients/residents. For instance, the facility should have extensive monitoring of their patients, particularly those who have a history of wandering off. Facilities should also be aware of things that may trigger an individual's desire to walk off.

Some facilities may also consider the use of GPS tracking devices that can be installed in wrist bands or some other types of ID. Florida uses the "Silver Alert" program, which is much like the Amber Alert that is used to help find missing individuals.

If you or a loved one has sustained injury while at a nursing home, contact the Fort Myers personal injury lawyers at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. today.

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