How to Insure Loved Ones Are Safe From Slips and Falls
Written by Jeff Meyer on June 17, 2015
Accidents can happen, and when they do, the effects can be devastating. Slipping and falling down can lead to serious injury of the body and brain, and one study published in General Hospital Psychiatry has even found that people who were hospitalized as a result of a slip-and-fall injury were more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than their peers (2014). Thus, the injurious effects of slip-and-fall accidents extend beyond the realm of the physical. Sometimes, nursing home abuse can be concealed in the guise of a slip-and-fall accident.
Slip-and-Fall Injuries Can Be Dangerous to Anyone
Even the most hale and hardy person can become severely injured due to a slip-and-fall accident. Such accidents can result in injuries like bone fractures, torn ligaments, muscles, or tendons, and even traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding. The injuries that result from these accidents can have a lifelong impact on the quality of life from the time of the injury forward. Even when treatment comes in a timely manner, the injury can cause physical, cognitive, or psychological complications for years to come, especially if it is the result of nursing home abuse.
Those Most at Risk Must Be Aware and Take Preventive Steps
Seniors and disabled people are at high risk for slip-and-fall accidents and the injuries that ensue. However, research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health found that falls could be prevented by taking a few proactive steps (2013). Exercise regimens tailored to senior needs help to strengthen muscle and aid in balance and coordination, helping to prevent accidental falls. Use of non-slip footwear can also be helpful as a fall preventative, and taking regular vitamin supplements helps to fortify the body, keeping it sturdy and steady.
Help Your Loved Ones Help Themselves
If you have a friend or relative residing in an assisted living facility, talk to them about preventing slip-and-fall accidents. Help them choose non-slip footwear, and encourage them to engage in gentle physical activity if appropriate, so that they can build muscle strength and improve balance. Yoga can be a great form of exercise for the elderly or infirm. If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated by the staff of his or her residence, talk to them about nursing home abuse, as well. Let them know you are there to help.
Tools to Prevent Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Exercise, nutritional supplements and skid-free shoes are all ways to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. For people with reduced mobility, use of a well-fitted cane or walker—or even a wheelchair or scooter—may be another way to insure against slipping and falling down. Some people with limited mobility resist using their assistive devices out of suspicion of technology, or out of denial—either denying that they need mobility assistance or feeling that mobility assistance signals a loss of freedom and thus resisting that perceived loss. Staff members in assisted living facilities should be aware of these tendencies, and should keep a watchful eye on residents prone to slipping and falling. Failure to do so may constitute nursing home abuse.
If You Think a Loved One’s Slip-and-Fall Accident Was Due to Neglect or Abuse
If your family member resides in a nursing home and suffered a slip-and-fall injury and you think it resulted from abuse or neglect by staff, report the incident to local Adult Protective Services right away and take action. Remove your family member from the facility immediately if possible, and seek out a social worker who specializes in elder services for resources. You may also wish to consult an attorney to find out what legal options are available for your loved one.