Nursing home neglect at the Helia Healthcare of Energy nursing home in Energy, Illinois caused one resident to suffer multiple nursing home falls at the facility. A single nursing home fall can be unpredictable. For example, a resident with no history of nursing home falls can stumble on a table leg or a chair.
In this case, the nursing home falls were easily predictable from the outset, and the efforts undertaken to prevent the falls from happening repeatedly were woefully inadequate.
The resident is a 74-year-old woman with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Upon arrival at a nursing home, every resident is to receive a fall risk evaluation. This is standard for all nursing homes including Helia Healthcare. The fall risk assessment states that anyone who receives greater than a score of 10 will be considered an extreme high risk for nursing home falls. Helia Healthcare assessed the resident with a score of 16.
The care plan put in place for her required the use of a gait belt while walking. A gait belt is nothing more than a wide heavy-gauge belt. It gives a caregiver something to hold onto when assisting a walking patient. No additional changes were made until after the resident’s 4th nursing home fall resulted in lacerations and an trip to an Energy, Illinois Hospital Emergency Room.
Afterwards, Helia Healthcare made some minor changes to the plan of care including reminding the resident to use her call button for assistance. The resident had been admitted with a diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
A nursing home fall a month later resulted in multiple bruises and a laceration that required 3 stitches. After this nursing home fall, the plan of care was altered to direct staff to escort her back to her “comfort zone” when she was wandering.
During the interview with the Illinois Department of Health, the Director of Nurses said, “We don’t have 1 staff person continually monitoring her 24 hours a day – all staff monitor her when she is in their area. All staff keep an eye on her.”
Clearly this policy is not keeping the nursing home falls from happening. All it seems to be doing is reducing accountability for the falls.
Nursing homes are required to put adequate and effective interventions in place to prevent nursing home falls. When they fail to do so, they are guilty of nursing home neglect.
If you have a loved one who has experienced multiple nursing home falls in an Illinois nursing home, and you feel they are being subjected to nursing home neglect, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At my law offices we never charge a fee unless we take, and win, your case.