In a perfect world, all nursing homes would have staff members who work tirelessly to prevent resident falls, but regrettably, this is not always the case. Instead, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News asserts that the typical American nursing home reports between 100 and 200 resident falls a year.
However, the true number of residents falling at each facility may be higher. In some cases, staff members and administrators fear facing sanctions for resident falls, so they may avoid reporting many that occur.
Nursing home fall statistics
As many as three-quarters of all nursing home residents fall on an annual basis. It is worth noting that your parent’s chances of falling and suffering a serious injury are actually substantially higher when he or she lives in a nursing home than they would be in alternative living environments.
In fact, your aging parent is four times more likely to suffer a fatal fall while living in a nursing home than he or she would be at home or while living with you or other loved ones. Why? In many cases, nursing home residents fall because of environmental circumstances, among them improper bed heights, wet floors and similar hazards. In fact, incorrect bed heights and faulty bed rails contribute to nearly 30% of nursing home resident falls.
Even nonfatal falls impact residents in many different ways. Up to 20% of these falls lead to serious injuries, while up to 6% result in bone fractures. Even if your loved one falls without suffering a major injury, he or she may experience other hardships in the aftermath. He or she may become less mobile, for example, due to fears of falling again. Conversely, your parent may begin to isolate socially from his or her peers, which may lead to depression and loneliness.
Before selecting a particular nursing home for an aging parent, ask what measures they have in place to help prevent resident falls.