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Frequent falls could be a sign of nursing home neglect

Overall, the United States is seeing an increase in the aging population, including in West Virginia. Some of these elders live at home or with family members, but a significant number reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. At this time, more than 1.4 million citizens aged 65 or older live in nursing homes. The government expects that figure to reach approximately 3 million by 2030.

Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable members of the nation's population. While people do live longer than ever, often they become weak or frail and therefore vulnerable to falling. It is estimated that about 1,800 nursing home residents die each year due to fall-related injuries. Those who survive often experience permanent disability or a reduced quality of life from injuries sustained in a fall.

Sometimes a fall is simply an accident and every American citizen is at risk for an accidental fall. However, in a nursing home situation, a fall could be indicative of neglect. Here are a few statistics to ponder:

-- 20 percent of fall-related deaths in those aged 65 occur among nursing home residents

-- Nursing homes with about 100 beds report 100 to 200 falls each year

-- Many nursing home falls are never reported

-- Up to 75 percent of nursing home residents fall each year

-- On average a single nursing home resident will fall 2.6 times per year

-- Approximately 35 percent of fall injuries occur among residents who are unable to walk

Part of a nursing home staff's responsibility is to protect residents from harm. Failure to provide reasonable care or protection may be a sign of nursing home negligence or even abuse. Please contact a personal injury attorney if you believe your elder loved one is experiencing neglect in a nursing home.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Falls in Nursing Homes," accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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