Start your claim

Many elderly people are susceptible to falls and injuries, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided in care

It’s a fact of life that as we get older we become less steady on our feet, and for many people, hearing their elderly relative has injured themselves in a fall comes as no surprise – and often is something they have expected.

So if a loved one is injured in a fall when in the care of either a residential or care home, or a hospital, should we consider it something which was to be expected and could not possibly have been avoided? Certainly not.

Of course, there are cases when elderly patients fall and the circumstances simply couldn’t have been predicted or avoided.

However, in many cases we see as specialists in handling medical negligence compensation claims at Hudgell Solicitors, falls, many of which have resulted in serious injuries and ultimately lead to earlier death, could and should have been avoided with appropriate planning and care.

Often, this is because elderly patients have not been adequately risk assessed on admission, leading to them not being supervised appropriately.

Guidelines require health providers to fully risk assess patients for falls

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that older people coming contact with any healthcare professionals should be asked routinely whether they have fallen in the past year and asked about the frequency, context and characteristics of the falls.

This information should be used in order to devise a suitable care plan aimed around reducing the risk of falling.

Those considered at risk should be observed closely and assessed, taking into account their falls history, balance, mobility, strength, muscle weakness, fear on their feet, visual impairment, and continence problems which may lead to a patient often leaving their bed.

Once all of these elements have been assessed, and the impact on balance of any medication has been taken into account, a plan should be made to ensure all staff, at all times, are doing all they can to prevent the patient from suffering a fall.

Simple steps that could and should be implemented in most cases when a patient is deemed to be at risk of falls include;

  • Ensuring sufficient nursing staff are available to provide the necessary levels of supervision
  • Providing nursing supervision appropriate to the risk of falling – perhaps one-to-one supervision may be needed on those prone to wandering and who are unsteady
  • Communicating the “at risk” status at each nursing shift handover to ensure clear understanding of needs of all staff
  • Orientating the patient to their surroundings to ensure they are not confused about where they are
  • Ensuring the patient is positioned in a high visibility area of a ward (if placed in an individual room this can hamper direct supervision and observation)
  • Implementing a nurse call system – which can even be placed in a patient’s hand if needed
  • Regularly instructing a patient to call for help before getting out of bed or before attempting to walk
  • Regularly informing a patient and their family of the fall prevention interventions
  • Evaluating all medications for the potential side-effects.
  • Providing a commode at the bedside if deemed appropriate to limit the need to leave the bed
  • Ensuring beds are in the lowest position possible
  • Removing all obstacles and clutter and other unnecessary equipment and furniture
  • Using a nightlight as appropriate
  • Using electronic sensor alarms which will detect and sound if the patient attempts to mobilise independently from either a bed or chair
  • Ensuring the patient has correctly fitting footwear as necessary
  • Considering using protection devices such as hip protectors so as to avoid an unnecessary hip fracture should the patient unfortunately fall.

As can been seen from the list above, much can be considered and implemented to reduce the possibility of falls as much as possible, and relatives would be well within their rights to ask whether such precautions and measures had been in place should their loved one suffer a fall causing injury.

Prompt care and treatment is crucial should a patient be injured in a fall

Equally important is the treatment afforded to an elderly person following a fall. Too often we see failures to fully investigate injuries after a fall, leading to injuries worsening, and longer term pain and suffering for the patient.

In a recent case of mine, an 83-year-old patient died two weeks after suffering a broken hip in hospital, after wandering from his bed and falling six times in a matter of weeks. That is simply unacceptable and a clear example of a Hospital Trust failing in its duty of care. For the family involved the cost has been the avoidable loss of a much loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

So, in summary, families should not simply accept that an elderly person is likely to suffer a fall at some stage when in care.

What they must do – to ensure their loved ones are not let down – is insist all is done to prevent falls happening in the first place, and that health bodies demonstrate that they could have done nothing more should falls and injuries still occur.

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Brilliant customer service"

Brilliant customer service, always will contact you as they say they will. Have been very helpful with my case and explained the process thoroughly, very easy to understand. Would definitely recommend.

Julia MatildaJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Verry happy with the result they got…"

Verry happy with the result they got for my claim very officiant and professional my particular solicitor was the most friendly official type person that I have dealt with before really happy with the freindly kind manner in which they dealt with myself and my claim I would recommend them…

Richard RobertsJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very impressed with the fast turn…"

Very impressed with the fast turn around of Hudgell. Very responsive and friendly too.

CustomerJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Wonderful service"

Wonderful service, was kept up to date regularly and once they received an offer to settle my case, they advised that they could get a better offer and did just that, will definitely pick up the phone again if I ever require their services in future.

Jordan HowarthJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"These solicitors were very helpful and…"

These solicitors were very helpful and I was surprised when they told me that they were pursuing a totally different avenue to the one I thought was available. They were very efficient, constantly in communication with myself and were direct with the opposite party. Needless to say, they won my…

GARY COSGROVEJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Take a leaf out of there book"

I would certainly recommend Was kept up to date via email promptly each time I asked a question Postal and email correspondence was fluent and my claim settled in a timely manner Many thanks to Alex and his hard work

Mandy Michelle WainwrightJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors…"

Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors to go through my claim with, Sarah informed me every step of the way (even when they was nothing to update me with) was such a quick process and she couldn’t of been more helpful ! 5*

Courtney FriendJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"karl griffin fantastic man"

karl griffin was fantastic extremely helpful and fought every step of the way for me he was always there whenever i needed him i highly recommend hudgell solicitors to anyone who needs there help they made a horrible situation dissappear

Jeni DaleJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Alex is amazing"

Alex is amazing! He took over my claim and everything changed from negative to positive. Case still ongoing but fantastic service so far from Alex. Great communication - answering calls and emails. Spot on in everything. I am very glad he is handling my case now and I am confident…

Seth OppongDecember 27, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Highly recommended"

Excellent service and communication from start to finish. The whole process of handling my personal injury claim was dealt with quickly and courteously.

MikeNovember 26, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019