The Heartland of Galesburg nursing home in Galesburg, Illinois is an 84-bed for-profit nursing home. It’s part of a chain of nursing homes operating in Illinois and neighboring states.
The nursing home was recently fined for failing to prevent a series of dangerous nursing home falls that occurred to two of the residents at Heartland of Galesburg.
One of the residents fell four times in a single year. After the second fall, her updated care plan called for her to not be left unattended in her room while in her wheelchair. A subsequent fall report indicated that the plan was not followed, and the Heartland of Galesburg resident suffered a fractured hip and a stay in a nearby Galesburg hospital.
The other resident had a much more difficult time. He had 18 falls in a single year. Many of these falls did not result in care plan updates.
It is often difficult for families to understand how a nursing home fall can be a result of nursing home neglect. When most of us see or hear of people falling, the consequences of the fall are usually very small. For example, if a person decides to walk down a grassy hill just after a rainstorm, they can expect it to be a slippery surface. If they fall, they can expect a grass stain and perhaps a bruise.
In nursing homes like Heartland of Galesburg, the assumptions change. Nursing homes are obligated to take great care to ensure that their floors are clear of dangerous conditions. When an elderly person slips on a wet floor, the results of the fall are likely to be catastrophic.
As people age, their bones get more fragile. Where a 50-year-old may get a bruise and some embarrassment, a nursing home resident is likely to get a severe injury that may be life threatening or potentially end their mobility forever.
Nursing homes are required to frequently reevaluate all residents for fall risks. They need to have a plan in place to address an individual’s risks of falls, and they need to make amendments to their care plan every time a nursing home fall occurs.