Nursing Home Permits Patient to Fall and Sustain Hip Fracture; Nursing Home Settles

An elderly nursing home patient was admitted to a nursing home as a high fall risk. The patient was initially provided with a bed alarm, but the bed alarm was withdrawn by the nursing home shortly after the patient arrived at the facility without any notice to the patient’s family. The patient’s family noticed during a later visit, the patient did not have either a fall alarm in his wheelchair or in his bed. That patient’s family advised the nursing home the patient needed a fall alarm at all times in bed and chair. The nursing home assured the patient’s family a fall alarm would be provided.

The next day, after the visit by the patient’s family at which the nursing home advised a fall alarm would be provided immediately, the patient fell in his room. The patient had not been provided with a fall alarm. After the fall, the patient complained of severe pain in his hip. X-rays and an MRI were obtained and revealed the patient sustained a hip fracture as a result of the fall. The patient developed breathing difficulties, an increased temperature, and pneumonia. His condition deteriorated and he died at the hospital seven days after the fall. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to take proper fall prevention measures, including its failure to provide the patient with fall alarms in his bed and chair. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount.