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Nursing homes use questionable method to prevent falls

Growing older often means losing strength and agility, sometimes to the point where it is difficult to stand or walk without assistance. Medical conditions may cause one to feel off balance, and certain medications may result in dizzy spells. Any of these or other conditions can lead to falls that may result in serious injuries.

If you have a loved one who is under the care of a Texas nursing home staff, you might expect the staff to be aware of the conditions that make your loved one susceptible to falls. What you may not realize is how some nursing homes deal with fall risks.

A poor solution

Many falls take place when an elderly nursing home resident tries to get up from a chair or out of bed to use the rest room or other reasons before help arrives. A fall may mean broken bones, cuts or gashes requiring stitches, head injuries or internal injuries. Of course, you do not want your loved one to fall, but some nursing homes are taking drastic measures to deal with fall risks, especially when they are shorthanded.

Nursing homes must report falls incidents to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which may result in penalties, such as reduced federal payments. As a result, to avoid any chance that a resident may fall, nursing homes may confine vulnerable residents to the bed. This means your loved one may be unable to move without setting off alarms. The railings on the bed may be up to prevent him or her from getting out. Staff may visit periodically to help your loved one to a bedside toilet.

The consequences of bed confinement

While it may reduce the number of falls, confining an elderly resident to bed for days at a time can have devastating effects. Modern medical science now understands that walking and moving is ideal for a quicker recovery and that bed rest weakens muscles so badly that your loved one may require months of rehabilitation. Bed rest increases the chances your loved one may develop lung issues or dangerous pressure ulcers.

Immobility and bed rest are not always the solution for an elderly resident who is susceptible to falls. In fact, you may see your loved one's health deteriorate if the nursing home staff confines him or her to bed. You may have to be the voice for justice for your loved one, and for that end, you may wish to reach out for sound legal advice on your best options.

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