Nursing Home Resident Falls, Waits Several Hours For Help

A nursing home was fined thousands of dollars and could lose its license for various violations that include a 92-year-old resident who fell down and waited several hours for help.

Documents show the nursing home's license was put on conditional status, effectively one step away from revocation, following an inspection by state regulators.

Officials with the facility dispute some of the state’s claims and say they have worked to correct problems and improve the status of the license. For more, read the story.

This case illustrates an all-too-familiar pattern of nursing home conduct. Patients are not protected from falls adequately, even when they are noted to be high fall risks. Equipment such as personal fall alarms can help monitor a patient’s activities, but does not eliminate the need for adequate supervision. Adequate supervision must be based on the individual patient’s needs and the hazards of the patient’s environment. A nursing home or assisted living facility has the responsibility to ensure the safest environment possible for its patient. Specifically, a nursing home or assisted living facility must provide an environment free from accidents and hazards over which the nursing home or assisted living facility has control and provide proper supervision and assistive devices to prevent avoidable accidents, including falls. Second, proper medical care often is not rendered immediately following a fall. It is terrible that this elderly woman had to suffer the obvious pain she must have had from her broken hip left untreated for hours. Nursing homes have an obligation to their residents to properly evaluate all injuries and obtain immediate medical treatment.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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