May 20, 2012

State nursing home regulators in Iowa have announced that a nursing home in Washington, Iowa has been fined $15,000 as a result of an investigation into a resident’s fall at the nursing home. According to the report of the investigation, the employees of the nursing home were enjoying a Christmas party when a nearby resident of the nursing home fell, which happened to be recorded on a security video. The resident remained on the floor for 46 minutes during which two nursing home staff members approached her and asked if she was alright but did not assist the injured resident.

After the woman was finally assisted into bed, she was transported to a hospital where she required four staples to close an injury to her head. Despite the video evidence, the nursing home’s owner has denied that the nursing home provided substandard care to the woman and has appealed the fine.


Falls in nursing homes are a major source of injuries and death for nursing home residents. Whether due to physical weakness or physical disability, the effect from certain medications, dementia, or other causes, falls are particularly dangerous for the elderly and the infirmed. Hip fractures, head injuries, facial injuries, and broken bones may result from even a seemingly minor fall (there really is no such thing as a “minor fall” for many nursing home residents).

Because of the nature and incidence of falls experienced by nursing home residents, nursing homes are required to timely and appropriately assess and evaluate each resident as to his or her risk of falling,  at or very near in time to the admission into the nursing home and at regular intervals and on a continuing basis thereafter, especially when changes in the resident’s status, such as a medication change or change in physical condition, require that the resident’s risk of falling be re-evaluated.

Once a nursing home resident is identified as a fall risk, the nursing home is required to prepare a plan of care to address the fall risk issue, including identifying and developing methods intended to reduce the risk of falls for the nursing home resident.

Identifying a nursing home resident as a fall risk and establishing protocols to deal with the fall risk mean virtually nothing if the nursing home staff fails to timely, appropriately, and consistently implement the fall risk protocols determined for each nursing home resident.

Carelessness, laziness, the overworked weariness of nursing home employees, or the lack of enough properly trained nursing home staff to provide the appropriate level of care to the residents is never an excuse and should never be an explanation for a nursing home resident having fallen and suffered serious injuries or death. Nursing home negligence that results in falls leading to serious injuries that require hospitalization or the death of a resident is never acceptable and those responsible should be held fully accountable for their substandard care.

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of nursing home negligence or a nursing home injury, the advice from a local medical malpractice lawyer may help you decide if a claim for nursing home negligence should be made.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with nursing home lawyers in your state who may be able to investigate your possible nursing home negligence claim for you and file a nursing home malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.

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