According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it is estimated that between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people in the United States fall in a hospital or medical facility annually. A patient fall is defined as an unplanned decent to the floor with or without injury to the patient. Oftentimes, these falls result in fractures, lacerations, or internal bleeding, and in fact can result in death. Research by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services shows that close to 1/3 of falls can be prevented.
Causes of falls include understaffing of facilities, inappropriate physical conditions of the facility, and poor fall prevention assessments. Patients in hospitals and nursing homes have the right to be safe against these preventable incidents. Inappropriate cost cutting measures contribute to a dangerous environment for patients. While fall prevention activities need to be balanced with other considerations, such as minimizing restraints, the overwhelming majority of falls are preventable. For example, in some situations, hospital patients and nursing home residents require a “two assist”. This essentially means that two staff members should help and protect a patient while he or she is walking or getting out of bed. When there is a singular assist, in such instances, this places the patient at risk.
According to a Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert in 2015, 30-50% of falls result in injury. These injuries require additional treatments and prolong hospital stays. The average cost for a fall with injury is approximately $14,000.00. The Sentinel Event Database reveals that the most common contributing factors pertain to inadequate assessment, communication failures, a lack of adherence to protocols and safety practices, as well as inadequate staff orientation, supervision, staffing levels or skill mix.
Most falls are preventable and are often due to the negligence of healthcare providers. Patients in hospitals and nursing homes must be protected and kept safe from preventable falls. This is a serious medical issue and change in fall protocol only occurs through preventive actions prompted by the inducement to act. Patient rights lawsuits change the course of practice and induce medical facilities to change and correct their defective fall preventive practices. Furthermore, it is important for the family and the patient to be properly compensated for any facility fall which is the result of the medical provider’s carelessness. Patients incur needless medical bills and extreme suffering as a result of this carelessness. If you or a family member or a friend have suffered a fall at a hospital or nursing facility as a result of the facility’s carelessness, contact Rolf Patberg at the Patberg Law Firm at 412-232-3500 or email Attorney Patberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. The initial consultation is free.