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New York nursing home reduces falls and injuries

It is all too often that the news contains stories of nursing home negligence, abuse and a failure to prevent fall injuries. But that certainly does not make a lesser standard of care acceptable.

One nursing home in Brooklyn, New York, made great efforts last year to improve the care it provided and reduce the rate of falls among residents. The nursing home made numerous modifications through program planning, new safeguards and improved resident assessments. All of these modifications resulted in a reduction of resident falls by 53 percent.

The nursing home developed many of the changes based on past accidents. Nursing home employees noticed increased falls between 7 p.m and 9 p.m. These hours typically included more free time and fewer structured activities. The facility found a simple solution -- add more activities during this time of night.

Residents with cognitive impairments and a history of falls received new pain assessments. The assessments provided updated information and the residents received medication adjustments where needed.

Other simple modifications included mattress side guards for residents with a tendency to climb out of bed unassisted and contrasting toilet seat covers to help with depth perception and visual contrast.

This story demonstrates the good news -- that nursing homes can meet certain standards of care and safety for the benefit of its residents. Unfortunately, many facilities continuously fail to meet this standard of care and as a result, elderly and vulnerable residents suffer potentially serious injuries.

In addition to failure to prevent fall injuries, other common claims against nursing homes include failure to prevent bedsores, under or over medicating, malnutrition and failure to monitor patients. Senior citizens and vulnerable adults deserve better than this substandard level of care and injured residents may be able to recover damages for the injuries.

Source: McKnights, "Nursing home honored for reducing falls 53 % in one year," April 23, 2012

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