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Civil Litigation Attorneys

Toledo, Ohio Civil Litigation Attorneys

Why some care facilities won’t let staff help residents who fall

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Serious Personal Injury

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you would reasonably expect that if they fall (an event you’d hope would be rare), staff members are trained to safely pick them up and assess their condition.

It would likely surprise you to learn that some facilities are instructing their employees not to pick up residents and to call 911 instead – even if they don’t appear to be injured and just need help getting to their feet. Some have “no lift” policies – even if a resident falls from a chair to the floor.

Some facilities prefer to pay the fees rather than risk liability

An investigation by The Washington Post found that these non-emergency calls have increased by 30% in the past few years. They’re more common in cities that provide lift assistance at no charge. However, some areas are charging nursing homes and other senior facilities for making non-emergency lift assist calls – especially those they consider “repeat offenders.”

Even that hasn’t stopped some from doing it anyway. Assisted living and independent living facilities are more likely to call in emergency help than nursing homes, but some nursing homes have these “no lift” policies as well.

The key reason is that some facilities are concerned about liability issues – for example, if lifting a resident could cause greater injury. They also want to minimize staff injuries caused by lifting. The latter can be avoided by investing in hydraulic lifts or even handled cloth straps. Understaffing can also be to blame.

Besides being an added burden to taxpayers, these calls are often embarrassing for seniors who don’t want fuss made when they are uninjured. They also frustrate emergency medical services (EMS) officials.

Find out what your loved one’s facility’s handles residents’ falls

If you are researching senior facilities for a loved one or already have a family member in one, it’s a good idea to find out what they do when a resident falls. They should have more than one procedure in place, depending on how serious the fall is.

While a resident is likely to fare better if they’re checked out by an EMS professional after a fall, it also may say something about the level of staffing, training and the number of medical professionals available in a facility if it doesn’t want its employees lifting any resident who falls. That kind of approach can manifest in ways that could put your loved one at risk.