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How serious are falls in hospitals?

It may come as no surprise to you that people can slip or fall in healthcare settings. After all, hospitals are where people go for surgeries or to recover from illnesses, and it is not easy to get up and walk while recovering. You can expect falls even more in nursing homes, where many elderly residents are not mobile. However, you might not realize just how serious or common falls are in medical centers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, falls are one of the top causes of serious injury or death in U.S. healthcare facilities. Every year, up to 1 million hospital patients fall, as well as about half of all nursing home residents. More than one-third of these falls cause injuries. Most patients who fall are elderly, although anyone can be at risk. Why is falling such a danger in hospitals and nursing homes, you may wonder? People who are recovering from surgery may be dizzy or disoriented, and they may attempt to stand before it is safe. Medication can cause confusion or problems with balance. Patients who should not walk on their own may attempt to do so if they are confused or if there are no staff members to help them go to the restroom. Facilities may have beds or chairs that lack fall protection, or patients might not have footwear that protects from slips.

Your medical center should take precautions to protect patients from falls. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a competent personal injury attorney.