Falling accidents in Pa. nursing homes can bring penalties

Elderly and disabled people depend on nursing homes to provide consistent, compassionate and competent care. When nursing homes fall short in providing safe care, nursing home residents can suffer. Whether it is from abuse, neglect or falling accidents, residents can experience a range of injuries, some of which are fatal. Recently, a Pennsylvania nursing home was penalized with a downgraded license due to one resident's fatal fall.

The downgraded license stems from a February incident in which a woman died from injuries suffered during a fall in a nursing home bathroom. Although the resident was classified as a high-risk for falling due to multiple medical issues, including unsteady gait, visual disturbances, seizure disorder and bladder dysfunction, the resident was not fully supervised and supported by staff during an early morning bathroom visit. Unfortunately, the resident suffered multiple fractures and bleeding in the brain that resulted in her death.

The nursing home has been placed on a provisional license period which will last for six months and that comes with additional scrutiny from the state health department. The nursing home may also face financial penalties, but those details have not yet been released. The staff with the woman at the time of the fall reported not knowing that he was to accompany the resident during bathroom visits. As a result of the investigation, all direct-care staff will undergo a training related to fall prevention, and all information about residents' fall risks will be stored in an updated data system.

Residents in Pennsylvania nursing homes may face similar dangers and consequences from nursing home falling accidents. The families and loved ones of patients who have died due to the insufficient care of nursing home staff have the right to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can be a valuable resource for families seeking justice for deceased loved ones.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Harmar nursing home penalized for fatal fall", Gary Rotstein, May 17, 2017

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