Strokes and Accidental Falls

Accidental falls in nursing homes are one of the leading causes of head injury and broken bones in nursing homes. An accidental fall could even result in death. Sometimes a fall is the result of a trip or a misstep, but on occasion, the reason for the fall is far more serious. For instance, a nursing home resident might suffer from an accidental fall in the event that he or she is suffering from a stroke. Strokes occur when blood vessels that supply blood to the brain become blocked or partially blocked. Blood flow either ceases or is greatly reduced, thereby depriving brain cells of oxygen.

Signs That a Stroke is Happening – F. A. S. T.

There is a mnemonic device for remembering the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and you have to remember to act F.A.S.T.!

  • Face Drooping. If one side of the victim’s face is drooping, and the victim seems to lack control of the facial muscles on the droopy side, it likely indicative of a stroke.

  • Arm Weakness. A stroke victim usually exhibits some sort of muscle weakness on one side of his or her body during a stroke. The victim might not be able to lift the arm, or if he or she can lift it, the arm will gradually sink back down to the victim’s side due to the limited ability to control the limb.

  • Speech Difficulties. A stroke victim’s speech will begin to slur during a stroke. This is in large part due to facial paralysis. Sometimes, a stroke victim exhibits speech problems by saying words that make no sense but are clearly spoken. When this happens, the stroke victim thinks that he or she is saying exactly what he or she means, and can’t understand why you don’t understand. Bystanders might hear the victim say, “Right music cat blue micro tulip?” with the inflection of a question, while the victim believes that he or she has just asked, “and what are your plans for later?” What’s happening is that the victim’s brain is having trouble recalling the appropriate words to say and other, unintelligible words come out of the victim’s mouth instead.

  • Time to Call 911. Because a stroke is a medical emergency, the most important thing to do if someone is having a stroke is to call 911 immediately. There is a race against time during a stroke because some area of the victim’s brain is being deprived of oxygenated blood. The longer the stroke victim goes without emergency medical care and transportation to a hospital, the higher the likelihood that the victim will suffer brain damage. The severity of the damage is usually time-dependent.

An Accidental Fall Can Make a Stroke Situation Worse

It is possible that a stroke might cause the victim to fall down and hit his or her head. If this happens, the victim might suffer another closed head injury on top of the stroke itself. Alternatively, a fall might be so jarring that it triggers an aneurysm, i.e., a blood vessel bulge that bursts, flooding the surrounding brain tissue with blood. If a resident falls and exhibits any of the F. A. S. T. signs of a stroke, the staff should immediately call for an ambulance.

Contact an Accidental Fall Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a nursing home by an accidental fall, you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your specific situation. Please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at The Rooth Law Firm online or by calling (847) 869-9100.

Photo Credit: Neil. Moralee via Compfight cc


Stroke Association.Org, Spot a Stroke, Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms