Nursing Home Complaint Regarding Falls

Nursing home falls are serious problems in the nursing home industry. It is well recognized that falls are a major cause of death and major disability for senior citizens, especially since many suffer from osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease.

The applicable federal regulation provides:

(d) Accidents. The facility must ensure that -
     (1) The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as is possible; and
     (2) Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.

42 CFR Part 483.25(d)

Injury due to a fall is a legitimate basis for a nursing home complaint, and each year, many nursing homes receive citations from the State following surveys done after a resident suffers an injury due to a fall.

When the surveyors try to determine whether to issue a citation to a nursing home, some of the key issues they look at include:

  • Was there an appropriate fall prevention plan in place?
  • Were the steps in the fall prevention plan in fact being carried out?
  • Were any falls promptly reported to the doctor?
  • Was the condition of the resident closely monitored for 72 hours after a fall?
  • Was the fall prevention plan revised in light of falls or other changes in the resident's condition which increased the fall risk of the resident?