When people make the difficult decision to relocate themselves or a loved one to a long-term care facility like a nursing home, they expect its professional staff to make the residential experience as comfortable and as safe as possible. However, this past year has placed a spotlight on dangerous flaws in long-term care homes across the country, and the real-world consequences of inadequate care for vulnerable residents.
Systemic problems at long-term care homes can lead to overworked, short-staffed teams of caregivers who are unable to properly maintain essential health and safety protocols for each of the home’s residents. In addition to creating environmental conditions that might accelerate the spread of infectious illnesses, the failure to provide a reasonable degree of care can lead to accidents, which may cause their residents to sustain serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.
For senior citizens and other physically vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities, slip and fall accidents can lead to injuries from which the victim may never recover. In some cases, slip and fall accidents in nursing homes can even result in wrongful deaths.
Slip and fall accidents in long-term care facilities may be caused by nursing home negligence. If the facility’s staff, management, security personnel, custodial workers, or other parties fail to adequately monitor residents’ activities or implement appropriate safety measures, serious injuries can occur.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in a long-term care facility as the result of a preventable slip and fall accident, a Nova Scotia slip and fall accident lawyer may be able to help you recover financial compensation.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Long-Term Care Facilities
Some seniors use mobility aids, like walkers, to help them move throughout their residence. If the floor of their residence is poorly maintained or cluttered, those who rely on assistive mobility devices could be at risk of accidentally falling over an unseen hazard inside the facility. Similarly, uncleared snow or icy patches outside a nursing home’s entrance could also lead to accidents resulting in injuries, even for residents who do not require mobility assistance.
Other hazardous maintenance issues that might lead to injury-causing slip and fall accidents at long-term care homes may include:
- Recently mopped floors
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose tiles or uneven carpeting
- Poor lighting
- Broken or missing handrails
- Improperly maintained sidewalks outside the facility
- And more
Unlocked doors inside the nursing home could give residents the opportunity to wander into restricted or hazardous areas. Even more alarming, improperly supervised residents with cognitive impairments like dementia could wander outside the facility, where they may face even greater risks of injury.
Some residents of nursing homes may be prescribed medication that causes dizziness or lightheadedness. If a caretaker is aware that a resident’s medication could cause disruptive side-effects but allows them to walk without proper assistance, the resident may be at risk of injuring themself in a fall.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Could Seriously Affect Seniors
Senior citizens are more likely to sustain a serious injury in a slip and fall accident than any other demographic. As it so happens, falls are the leading cause of injuries requiring hospitalization for Canadian seniors. In Canada, 81% of seniors’ injuries requiring hospitalization were the result of a fall.
While the same accident may have little to no effect on a younger accident victim, slip and falls could adversely affect the rest of a senior citizen’s life. In fact, the injuries a senior sustains in a slip and fall accident could even create conditions that accelerate their untimely passing.
If a senior breaks their hip in a slip and fall accident, the repercussions could be devastating. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too familiar for families across the country. 95% of Canadian seniors’ hip fractures are the result of a fall. Broken hips can result in prolonged, intense pain and immobility.
Often, complicated surgery may be required in order to replace a broken hip. However, after receiving hip surgery to treat these injuries, many seniors lose their ability to walk independently. Even more seniors suffer fatalities due to complications following hip replacement surgery. According to reports from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 30% of seniors who receive a hip replacement die within one year following their surgery.
In addition to hip fractures, common injuries often sustained by seniors in slip and fall accidents include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- And more
Was the Accident a Result of Negligence in the Long-Term Care Home?
According to Nova Scotia’s Occupiers’ Liability Act, property owners and/or occupiers must exercise a reasonable duty of care to their residents and visitors. As such, the owners or managers of long-term care facilities have a duty to remove, repair, or adequately warn people about potential hazards on their premises. Failing to properly address possible slip and fall risks in the facility could make them liable for accidents that occur as a result.
If you or a loved one was injured as the result of negligence at a nursing home, a Nova Scotia lawyer may be able to help you pursue compensation, including general damages for pain and suffering. To do so, a lawyer might compile and present various forms of evidence to prove that negligence was the primary cause of the accident. Examples of evidence might include:
- Video surveillance footage of the accident
- Photos of hazards at the accident site
- Eyewitness testimonies from other residents or staff members
- Incident reports from attendant staff
- And possibly more
By pursuing legal action against the negligent parties, an injured resident of a long-term care facility may also be able to recover the costs of expenses they incurred as a result of their injuries. The costs might include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Costs of ongoing care
- Personal support worker costs
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a family member was injured in a slip and fall at a long-term care facility, you may be unsure who is ultimately at fault for the accident. A free, initial consultation with a lawyer may help clarify if the accident was caused by negligence, and if you are eligible to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. To discuss your case with a member of our team, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.