IDPH has cited and fined Chalet Nursing & Rehab nursing home in Chicago after a resident there fell while out on pass in the community and suffered a broken leg.
People in nursing homes are generally in nursing homes because they have care needs that cannot be met at home. Many have needs that require care and observation on a 24/7 basis, but others have needs that do not require that level of care. Some of these residents are reasonably self-sufficient and are able to handle the environment outside the nursing home, either independently or with the help of family or friends. These residents have what are generally known as “pass” privileges which allow them to leave the nursing home without the help of staff.
To evaluate whether a resident is able to handle pass privileges, a type of assessment typically called a community safety skill assessment is done. If the resident has the ability to leave the facility, then the “pass” will be issued to allow the resident to leave the nursing home, with or without family help.
The resident at issue was in a motorized wheelchair but had pass privileges to go out into the community independently. She was out in the community when she had a fall. She reported this when she returned to the nursing home and was placed on a 72-hour fall wtach. After that was done, the resident told social services that she wanted to regain her pass privileges, so she was referred to the restorative nursing department for a community safety evaluation.
However, the next day she left the nursing home to go out into the community. The community safety assessment had not been done by the restorative nursing team and the resident’s community pass privileges had not been reinstated. While she was out in the community, she got out of her wheelchair to ambulate and tripped and fell. She suffered a broken leg which required surgical repair.
The nursing home did the right thing by pulling the resident’s pass privileges and then placing her on the 72-hour fall watch after the initial fall in the community. They needed to verify that there was no more serious injury than was immediately apparent and they needed to evaluate the risk of a recurrence before allowing the resident back out into the community independently.
The breakdown occurred when the resident was still allowed out into the community without having active pass privileges. The front desk staff should be aware of who has and does not have privileges and should not allow residents without pass privileges to leave the facility. When a resident leaves the facility without being on pass, this is elopement, and this is just the kind of accident that happens when you have residents leaving the facility when it is not safe for them to do so.
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.
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