The incidents at Eden Village nursing home resulting in a fine from the Illinois Department of Public Health are textbook examples of how nursing home neglect can lead to nursing home falls and serious injuries.
A resident with an obvious risk of nursing home falls repeatedly presented behaviors that should have served as warnings and red flags to nursing home staff. Rather than taking action, however, the situation was allowed to get out of hand and the resident suffered as a result.
In this case, the Eden Village resident is an elderly woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease among other ailments. Her initial physical when she first arrived at Eden Village notes impaired balance when standing, walking, and transfers from surface to surface. It was also noted, at that time, that she had a history of falls and a tendency to try to get out of bed by herself and walk unassisted.
Whenever a nursing home resident is determined to be a high risk of nursing home falls, the nursing home staff are required to put interventions in place to prevent nursing home falls from taking place.
“Interventions” is a generic term for any kind of actions taken to prevent nursing home falls. They can include all kinds of truly innovative and creative techniques that have been fine tuned for decades.
Some of these interventions include:
- Bed and wheelchair alarms – notify staff when the resident begins to stand
- High bedrails – prevent residents from rolling out of bed
- Extra-low beds and pads for the floor in case of falls
- Padded lap belts
- Mechanical lifts
- Shower chairs
- High toilet seats with hand rails
- Slippers with non-slip pads
- Gait belts
The point is that when one single intervention isn’t working, it is incumbent upon the staff of the nursing home, in this case Eden Village in Glen Carbon, Illinois to continue to try alternative interventions until they find one that is working.
This is where Eden Village failed. The intervention used for this resident was a bed alarm. A bed alarm is essentially a pad that fits under the mattress of the nursing home bed. When the resident moves off of the pad, an alarm sounds at the nurses station and at the bed to wake the resident. Often, the issue with bed alarms is that they are not the size of the mattress, and so a fitful and light sleepers will often be awakened multiple times a night when they adjust themselves in their sleep.
On multiple occasions, the Eden Village resident fell in her room, and each time she reported that she did not like the sound the bed alarm made and switched it off.
It’s important to understand that the resident in question is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, a fatal affliction with devastating and drastic effects on personality and memory. This is not a rational person knowingly refusing a medical intervention, it’s a person incapable of making a sound judgement. When a nursing home knows that a resident is incapable of complying with an intervention, they need to adjust to a new tactic. Eden Village did not.
As a result, the resident experienced multiple nursing home falls resulting in a fractured wrist and multiple contusions to the head and other body parts. The most severe injuries occurred long after reports of her negative reaction to her bed alarm were made.
If you have a loved one who has experienced multiple nursing home falls at an Illinois nursing home, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.