If your elderly parent lives in a nursing home, you reasonably expect professionals there to keep him or her from falling. After all, when seniors fall, they often sustain injuries. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the primary cause of serious injuries for those above the age of 65.
If your mother or father has certain health conditions, balance issues or memory loss, he or she may be increasingly vulnerable to slipping, tripping and falling when going to the bathroom. To ensure your loved one remains safe, staff at the nursing home should have a fall-prevention strategy.
Recognizing the risk
For seniors, most catastrophic falls happen in the bathroom. This makes sense, as bathrooms can be slippery places. Therefore, your parent may require supervision when entering and exiting the shower or tub. He or she may also need additional assistance with moving onto and off the toilet. If your parent has a slip-and-fall risk, nurses may give him or her a special wristband to wear.
Protecting your parent
Often, simply having a strong person help with bathroom functions is sufficient to reduce slip-and-fall risk. Unfortunately, though, nursing homes across the country are experiencing severe staffing shortages. This may leave your parent with little choice but to try to navigate a hazardous bathroom on his or her own.
While it is advisable to check in regularly with the nursing home to see if your mother or father has access to support when going to the bathroom, you can never eliminate his or her fall risk. Ultimately, if your parent suffers a catastrophic injury in a fall, you may have grounds to pursue a legal claim.