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Joint Safety Commission Report Confirms that More Patients Are Falling

 Posted on April 18, 2023 in Slip and Fall

arlington heights slip and fall lawyerWhen the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and as it raged throughout 2021 and into 2022, hospitals were overrun with patients requiring urgent care. As the pandemic began to stabilize, hospitals were overrun with patients who needed medical treatment that had been put on the back burner for weeks, months, or even years so that healthcare providers could focus their limited resources on those who had particularly time-sensitive needs. Partially as a result of this imbalanced dynamic, it has been confirmed that more patients suffered harm during these chaotic years than in years past.

The question of whether this spike in patient harm – including a particularly notable uptick in patient falls resulting in injuries – has returned to pre-pandemic levels or whether it remains a particularly pressing concern.

Fall and Sentinel Event Rates Have Spiked

The Joint Commission is a non-profit organization that accredits healthcare facilities based on their approach to safe, effective patient care. In its latest report, The Joint Commission confirms that patient fall rates spiked last year, while sentinel event rates rose dramatically over the course of the pandemic. As defined by The Joint Commission, a sentinel event is “a patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm or severe temporary harm.”

Staffing shortages, challenges related to mental health, and not being able to identify the presentation of many non-Covid-related conditions during the worst of the pandemic all played roles in the rate spikes related to patient-related harm. However, The Joint Commission has also made it clear that it primarily blames communication failures and providers failing to adhere to safety policies consistently for this disturbing upward trend. This assessment certainly lines up with the increased prevalence of patient falls, given that the vast majority of patient falls are preventable as long as both professional standards of care and facility maintenance are being given adequate attention.

When Are Patient Falls Legally Actionable? 

Injuries resulting from patient falls are generally actionable when they would not have occurred absent another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct. Certainly, someone who is distracted could theoretically trip over their own feet at any time. But, if it can be proven that a fall occurred due to substandard medical care and/or inadequate property management, the harm caused by a fall could potentially be actionable as a medical negligence or premises liability matter.

Contact a Skilled Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information

If you or a loved one has fallen in a healthcare setting and sustained injuries as a result of that fall, you may be entitled to compensation. To better understand your rights and options, connect with the knowledgeable Arlington Heights, Illinois slips, trips, and falls lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP by scheduling a free case evaluation. You can call our team at 847-797-8000 or you can submit a contact form on our firm’s website to get started. If you deserve justice for harm that could – and should – have been prevented, we can aggressively advocate on behalf of your interests. We look forward to meeting with you.



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