The events at the Rest Haven Manor nursing home in Albion, Illinois perfectly illustrate one of the most frustrating aspects of nursing home falls. Nursing home falls that don’t cause injuries are a warning system. They are an opportunity to take action that will prevent serious injuries in the future.
However, unless the fall inflicts serious damage on the resident, nursing homes often fail to take any action to understand and eliminate the causes. When the major fall finally happens, and the resident is seriously injured, nursing home administrators tell juries and investigators that they never could have predicted the injuries.
A resident was admitted to Rest Haven Manor as a high fall risk. In her first three months at Rest Haven manor she fell three times. She fell two more times over the next three months. In her first year at the facility, she fell a total of seven times. The report of the last fall is sadly typical. She was sent to the emergency room after being found on her bathroom floor bleeding from the head with multiple skin tears. The hospital diagnosed her with a concussion.
According to the report compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), there was no record of a comprehensive assessment of the repeated falls. These assessments are essential because they can identify patterns that contribute to the likelihood of falling. Sometimes specific medications can lead to nursing home falls. Alternate interventions might include moving a resident’s room closer to the nurse’s station, alarms, or using a different kind of walker.