IDPH has cited and fined Bethany Rehab nursing home in DeKalb after a resident there suffered a broken arm in a fall while walking from her chair to bed with the help of an aide.
Skipping over steps that are required to do things safely is a well-worn path to disaster in a nursing home. By way of example, we have seen it multiple times here in this blog where you have one person doing a two-person job (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples). This particular accident resulted from not following the fundamentals that must be followed to assist a resident who needs help with walking.
When a resident requires assistance with walking, the are a couple of “musts” that went by the wayside here. One is that the resident must be wearing proper footwear. The other is that the aide must use a gait belt. A gait belt is a large canvas strap which must be applied to the mid-section of the resident and allows the staff member to gain control of the resident in the event that there is a loss of balance.
The resident at issue here had left-sided weakness due to residuals from an earlier stroke and needed assistance with walking. However, on the day of the accident, there aide elected to assist the resident in walking from a chair to her bed without using a gait belt (holding onto her clothing instead) while the resident was wearing regular socks, not shoes or non-skid socks.
While walking in this manner, the resident fell, landing on her outstretched left arm. Another aide was summoned and the lifted the resident to bed and alerted the nurse that a fall had occurred. The resident did not receive x-rays for about a week, having to live with pain from the broken arm which was treated with Tylenol only until it was actually treated.
However, the nurse did not notify the doctor that a fall had occurred. One situation where a nurse must notify a doctor is when a fall occurs. This was not done which resulted in the resident being denied necessary care for almost a week.
There were a number of problems with the care that this resident received. First, the transfer was attempted without a gait belt and without the resident having proper footwear on. This led directly to this resident’s nursing home fall. Second, the aides transferred the resident to bed without first having the resident assessed by a nurse. Moving a resident after a fall can cause additional injury, and assessment of a resident by a nurse is needed to determine whether movement of the resident is safe. Finally, the nurse failed to notify the doctor that the fall occurred, resulting in a week-long delay in care.
The basic facts of this case also speak to poor training and an understaffed nursing home. One of the hallmarks of an understaffed nursing home is when you have accidents resulting from staff skipping simple measures necessary to assure the safety of residents – like putting on shoes and using a gait belt or notifying a nurse before moving a resident after a fall happens.
It also speaks to poor training of the staff. All of the things that were missed during and after this fall are things that are basics for providing care in nursing homes. Sadly, poor training of staff and having understaffing of a nursing home are hallmarks of the nursing home business model because they all require investing in the care of residents. One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary accidental injuries and wrongful deaths of nursing home residents are the inevitable result. Order our FREE report, Built to Fail, to learn more about why. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
Other blog posts of interest: