My dad fell while in a nursing home and now he has to use a wheelchair to get around. I thought they were supposed to be watching him so he didn’t fall. Is that right?

The issue is whether he was a fall risk before he fell and what plan was in place before it happened. If the facility is aware that your dad is at risk of falling, they are suppose to put into place precautions to prevent falls such as lowering the patient’s bed, raising the side rails of the bed, moving the patient closer to the nursing station, or providing a strap on a wheelchair to keep the patient from trying to stand up. A nursing home should be aware that a patient is at risk of falling if the patient has fallen before; is on certain medications that make him or her dizzy or weak; if the patient has physical ailments that make him or her more prone to falling; or if a patient tries to stand, walk or go to the restroom when he or she are no longer able to do those activities without assistance. If a nursing home knows the patient may fall, and the staff fails to put precautions in place, your loved one is at risk for repeated falls which may result in further injury. If your loved one has suffered a fall in a nursing home, then you may wish to seek legal counsel to determine whether the fall was due to negligence.

The foregoing answer is not legal advice and is merely a general overview. You are advised to consult a lawyer to address your specific situation. If you have further questions or have a question for a future column then write me at steve@aa-legal.com. For more information on our firm, go to: as-legal.com.

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