A resident of the Lexington Health Care Center in Bloomingdale, Illinois broke his ankle in a nursing home fall after he was left untended in his wheelchair. According to the report, the man stood to reach for his call light and lost his balance and fell, shattering his ankle. A call light, or call switch, is a device that every nursing home resident can use. When activated, an indicator at the nurses station tells the nurses that the resident needs help.
Many people hearing a brief summary of the incident, like the one above, will probably be confused. It seems like an accident, the kind of thing that can happen to anyone. As a nursing home attorney and advocate for nursing home residents, I know that most nursing home falls are different from typical slip and fall accidents. With very few exceptions, nursing home falls are predictable and preventable, and the evidence suggests that this nursing home fall was no different.
The resident was suffering an assortment of disorders that made him a high risk for a nursing home fall. The plan of care developed at the nursing home indicated that he had:
- impaired mobility,
- decreased safety awareness (he wasn’t aware of his diminished mobility) and
- used psychotropic medications.
Each of these conditions by themselves make a resident a high risk for a nursing home fall. To have all of them at the same time constitutes a great risk.
The call light should always be left within reach of a resident with limited mobility.
Instead, the call light was left in an inaccessible place (between the bed and headboard). After the nursing home fall, the Lexington Health Care Center resident was found on the floor beneath his bed. Compounding the nursing home neglect, the Lexington Health Care Center staff failed to properly document the broken ankle for days even though the man complained of pain several times.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in a nursing home fall, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. Our nursing home fall lawyers are ready to assist you with all aspects of your nursing home fall case.