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What is Being Done to Prevent Care Home Falls? Nisha Sharma Comments

By Senior Associate, Clinical Negligence

I represent many elderly patients who have suffered 'accidents' in care homes and hospitals.  Unfortunately one of the main problems with claims arising from falls is that there is often little evidence to establish the cause if an Incident Form has not been completed or some other note made.A report from the  Royal College of Physicians highlights how important it is to do all that can be done to prevent falls amongst elderly people. Falls and hip fractures are a huge reason why the health of elderly people deteriorates and they are unable to remain at home.  The injuries that result can lead to disability and death.The Report tells of how basic measures are not taken to prevent falls. Every elderly person should be assessed for their vulnerability to fall; but only 34% of those who break their wrist, arm, pelvis or spine are assessed.Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK commented: "Falling and breaking a bone can have serious, life-changing consequences for older people – one of which is that they are much more likely to suffer falls in the future." I agree with Ms Mitchell as I have dealt with a number of very sad cases involving elderly people.   I am currently investigating a case where it is alleged that an elderly lady suffered a fall while being transferred in a hoist.  She died shortly after.The Report goes on to comment on the inadequate attention afforded to the prevention of pressure sores or to early provision of intravenous fluids.  Once again, we in the clinical negligence department are regularly faced with cases involving these issues. It seems to me that the NHS are failing the elderly and clearly something needs to be done.Nisha Sharma is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.