A nursing home resident at the Daystar Care Center in Cairo, Illinois fractured her hip after a nursing home fall at the facility. This was the sixth time she had fallen in just 6 months, but it was the first fall that resulted in a significant injury.
The Daystar resident was supposed to have two staff helping her when she walked, and staff were supposed to visually check her every half hour to be certain she wasn’t attempting to ambulate on her own. There’s no evidence that any of these checks were actually implemented.
There’s a reason why nursing home falls are different than falls that take place outside the nursing home. When a healthy person falls, that accident is usually an unpredictable event. A bout of dizziness, an icy sidewalk, or a missed step can all cause a serious injury and are all unpredictable.
What makes nursing home falls different is that, with few exceptions, nursing home falls are predictable. There are several reasons for this. First, the nursing home is a controlled environment. Second, each nursing home resident is given a complete evaluation when they are first admitted to a nursing home.
Nursing home professionals are supposed to evaluate multiple factors to determine the likelihood that a resident will suffer a nursing home fall. If a nursing home fall does occur, an investigation is supposed to determine the cause of the fall, and recommend additional procedures to prevent the fall from recurring. Clearly, in this case, Daystar Care Center failed in both efforts.
A hip fracture after a fall is particularly devastating to a nursing home resident because the long period of convalescence makes other forms of nursing home neglect more likely. Bed sores and other infections are more often found in residents who are no longer able to walk on their own.