According to a report compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the man was an Alzheimer’s patient. At approximately 2:00 in the morning, he was wandering the nurse’s station in an agitated state. The report describes him moving from “chair to chair” but it doesn’t describe whether these were wheelchairs or office chairs.
According to the report, he was attempting to sit on the floor when he fell. This fall resulted in the broken hip.
No evaluation was done at the time, and for three days the man wasn’t even given an x-ray. During that time he was shifted and transferred from wheelchair to bed numerous times. These had to be extremely painful experiences, and yet none of the nurse’s notes made any mention.
When a nurse finally did examine the resident, a two inch round bruise was found on his hip. The hospital later verified the broken hip that required a surgical repair.
Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible condition that destroys the mind as well as the body. Part of what makes the disease so insidious is that because it attacks the mind first, the body then becomes easily susceptible to injury.
Even in the most careful nursing homes, residents will fall, and some of those falls will be unavoidable. The question is whether or not this was an avoidable fall. There are two key elements that lean towards nursing home neglect.
The first is the “chair to chair” movement of the resident just prior to the fall. The report does not say whether these were wheelchairs or office chairs. Most nursing homes are veritable ghost towns during the overnight shift. The Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center is a large facility with over 180 residents, but there are still probably only one or two staff on each floor during an overnight shift.
Wheelchairs should not be left out in abundance for residents to use at their convenience. Neither should rolling office chairs. The report states that the resident was moving from chair to chair, and then decided to sit on the floor.
The second element is far more troubling. There is no reason why it should take three days to realize a resident has a broken hip. This is clearly nursing home neglect.
If you have a loved one who has been the victim of nursing home neglect in an Illinois nursing home, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, we never charge a fee unless we earn a recovery for you.