A resident of Colonial Manor nursing home in Danville, Illinois suffered a nursing home fall that resulted in a fractured leg. She was being walked to the bathroom by a single certified nurses assistant (CNA) using an assistive device called a gait belt.
A gait belt is a wide belt with a handle that a CNA or other staff member can hold. If used properly it can stabilize a nursing home resident who has lost his or her balance and prevent a nursing home fall. On this occasion, the gait belt failed because the CNA let go of the belt to open the bathroom door. Left on her own, the resident fell, hit her hip on the footboard of the bed and sustained a hip fracture.
Defenders of the nursing home will point out that she was only on her own for a few seconds. What they won’t admit is that all nursing home falls happen in a few seconds. One second, a resident is healthy and standing. The next second, they are on the floor in pain. It only takes a moment, as any nursing home CNA should know.
When friends and new acquaintances learn that I’m a nursing home lawyer, the first question I’m asked is invariably about how to tell whether a nursing home is safe. It’s a hard question to answer because there are many variables to consider.
There are common tendencies shared by places where nursing home neglect is frequently found. For example, non-profit nursing homes tend to have less instances of nursing home neglect than for-profit nursing homes.
Also, nursing homes with less staff turnover are statistically safer than nursing homes where new staff are common. High staff turnover is usually a sign that nursing home administration is driving the staff to cut corners. When visiting a nursing home, be certain to speak with some of the staff members and ask them how long they’ve been an employee.
Nursing homes with fewer residents tend to have fewer deficiencies than large nursing homes. When staff are able to connect with each resident, small accommodations that make life easier for everyone can usually be made.
As much as I’d like to be able to give people a guarantee, there isn’t one. All we can do is make the nursing home neglect that leads to nursing home falls so expensive that nursing homes like Colonial Manor in Danville will do whatever it takes to prevent them from happening.
If you have a loved one who has experienced one or more nursing home falls, and you think the nursing home may have committed nursing home neglect, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.