If you own or manage a nursing home or elderly care facility, having a professional on call when a snowstorm hits is extremely important. If you are new to doing so, however, you may not know just how vital snow removal is to the safety of the individuals entrusted into your care.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publish annual statistics that are rather startling. For Americans aged 65 or older, one in four fall every year. That may not seem like a lot. But, this actually equates to 2.8 million elderly individuals suffering from falls. Every 11 seconds, someone 65 years or older receives emergency room treatment as the result of a fall. Every 19 minutes, however, an elderly person will actually die from a fall. Falls are so prevalent among the elderly that they actually are the leading cause of fatal injury. In total, falls cost a total of $31 billion in 2014. As more Americans join the ranks of the elderly, experts estimate that fall-related injuries will reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Increased Risks for the Elderly
Winter weather poses a risk for anyone. However, it is particularly dangerous for the elderly. Why? Well, as we grow older, we tend to lose sensitivity, especially in our feet. Diabetes, circulation issues, arthritis and other problems can take their toll on an aging body. As sensations decrease, balance becomes severely impacted. Elderly adults are often on multiple medications as well. These can cause dizziness and other such issues that can increase balance issues too. When balance is impacted, the addition of ice and snow can create a serious hazard. With age often comes frailty as well.
The Consequences of a Fall
Losing a client is sad for all involved. Losing one to a preventable fall, however, goes beyond sad. The legal consequences of a fall due to your failure to remove ice or snow can come with hefty fines and even the closure of your facility. If the fall results in an injury, you may be liable for the medical care, as well as the pain and suffering that fall may create. If it results in a fatality, an angry and hurt family may come for much more than that.
Hire a Snow Removal Service Now
As we transition into spring, you may not be thinking about snow removal. However, now is a perfect time to evaluate your needs when it comes to snow removal. A reputable snow removal company should be licensed, insured, and willing to draw up a written contract that specifies each parties expectations and responsibilities, as well as the cost of the service. Right now is a great time to research potential plow companies and work with them to come up with a contract that will keep your property clear of snow and your clients safe.