A Plan of Care is a document developed for every nursing home resident by the resident’s physician, nurses, family, and other professionals. It’s a very important document because it sets out the complete rules and procedures tailored to the individual: how he or she will be fed, cared for, medicated and otherwise treated. It’s a document that defines the entirety of the resident’s stay at the facility, and should be considered the final word for all questions of care. A Plan of Care that is not followed is a sign of nursing home neglect.
When the Plan of Care is ignored, people can easily be hurt or even killed. The incident at Manorcare of Oak Lawn West in Oak Lawn, Illinois that led to the facility being fined by the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, is a textbook example of what can happen when the Plan of Care for a resident is ignored.
The resident in question was being cared for in bed. The Plan of Care required that 2 Manorcare of Oak Lawn West staff attend the resident while she was being rendered care in bed. Specifically, one person was to be on either side of the bed to prevent the resident from falling.
Instead, a single staff member was attempting to change the resident when she twisted and fell from the bed. Emergency personnel from a nearby Oak Lawn Illinois hospital responded, and the resident was treated for lacerations to the head and a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding between the brain and the tissues surrounding the brain. Needless to say, it’s a potentially life-threatening injury.
Nursing home falls are exceedingly dangerous because of the fragility of the residents as well as the helpless positions they are often in when they fall. In this case, from a prone position, the resident clearly landed on her head.
This nursing home fall could easily have been avoided if the staff had simply adhered to the Plan of Care developed by the facility in conjunction with other medical personnel. Instead, in an attempt to cut corners, the resident suffered a severe injury.