Nursing homes and other residential facilities are often the most appropriate choice for our aging loved ones. While most families in Illinois would like to care for their elderly parents in-home, the time commitment and cost of care is often out of reach.
Even if you feel confident in your choice of nursing home, many elderly adults face an enormous but preventable risk -- falls.
Falls are serious and even life-threatening
A character falling on a TV show or in a movie is often the butt of the joke and usually pops back up quickly with no lasting harm or injury. In real life, falls pose a much more serious risk. For adults age 65 and older, falls cause the most nonfatal and fatal injuries. A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found these sobering fall-related results for 2014:
- 29 million falls
- 7 million injuries
- 27,000 elderly adult deaths
- 8 million emergency room visits
- 800,000 hospitalizations
This age group tends to be more medically frail than their younger counterparts, and they rely on the specialized care and attention that nursing homes provide. These numbers could indicate that nursing home staff are not taking adequate precautions with their at-risk residents.
The costs of a fall are enormous
With millions of falls every year, elderly victims can accrue hefty medical bills related to their injuries. Current annual Medicare bills for elderly adult falls top at around an estimated $31.3 billion. With the population of older adults growing rapidly, costs could rise an estimated 55 percent over the next few decades.
These costs can be difficult to handle if your parents are living on a fixed budget like many of their peers. Although Medicare might address some or most of the associated costs, fall injury victims must still contend with physical and emotional pain.
You can get your parent help
Nursing home residents rely on attending staff members to keep them safe, which includes taking necessary preventative fall measures for residents. When staff fail to prevent falls and your parent is severely injured, you may understandably be feeling angry and confused about your legal options.
Every injury victim, no matter their age or status, can seek justice when a medical professional's negligence resulted in their harm. Medical malpractice suits can be complicated, but you can help your injured parent through the process by making sure that they have experienced advocates on their side, providing invaluable guidance through the legal process of seeking just compensation.