This is part of our nursing home blog series. In this series of blog articles, Oklahoma City Attorney Travis Charles Smith discusses common issues in Oklahoma Nursing Home, Hospital, and Assisted Living facilities. However, if these articles still don’t answer your questions, feel free to send us an email and we’ll answer your legal questions.

Protecting the At-Risk Resident from preventable Falls in Oklahoma Nursing Homes.

Too often, we learn about our loved-one who was injured because they fell in a nursing home. We immediately ask, “how did this happen?!” And more often than not, the nursing home staff blames the patient. But was it really the patient’s fault? Isn’t the nursing home suppose to be taking care of them, making sure they don’t hurt themselves?

In this article, I discuss whether nursing homes are liable for accidental falls. As you will see, falls are not always pure “accidents” but are often the result of lack of oversight or careless neglect.

In Oklahoma, Nursing Homes must have adequate Patient Care Plans

Before admitting a patient to a nursing home in Oklahoma, the Nursing home must analyze the patient’s condition and create a Care Plan. The Care Plan should cover everything the patient/resident needs.

Part of that Care Plan should include whether the resident is at-risk for falls. The nursing home (and hospital) should know that some patients are at a higher risk for falling and injuring themselves than others.

Nursing Homes must implement “Fall Protection” Plans to protect residents

If you already know that the resident is a high-risk for falls, then why wouldn’t you have a plan in place to take measures to prevent the risk of falls? This is common sense that isn’t common enough in nursing homes.

Nursing homes should utilize certain measures, referred to as fall protection to minimize the resident’s risk of falls in the nursing home. This includes using two-person assistance for moving the resident. It also includes proper monitoring of the resident in wheel chairs, in cafeteria’s and during activities in the nursing home.

Some Oklahoma Nursing Homes are just plain negligent

I have seen instances where the nursing home repeatedly allowed the patient to fall out of his wheel chair, causing lacerations to the face, and broken bones (leg and hip). How can it be an accident when it happens over and over again?

The first time a patient falls, the nursing home is now on notice that this patient is at-risk for falling. The nursing should take precautions to minimize this risk. When a patient had had more than two falls, it is hard to argue that the nursing home was not negligent.

Falls can cause serious injuries. A patient can even suffer brain damage falling out of a wheel chair, and more certainly when falling from a higher elevation, such as from a bed.

Did I answer your questions? Feel free to call me at (405) 724-8112.

My name is Travis Charles Smith, I’m a lawyer in Oklahoma City, and I am always willing to talk to anyone who has questions about nursing home abuse or neglect.

In order to take your case, I will need to have a medical expert evaluate the records to determine if the nursing home followed the proper procedures. However, I am willing to pay for that process. If you are interested further, please call (405) 724-8112 or email to schedule a meeting.