The seriousness of nursing home falls on the quality of life of nursing home residents cannot be overstated. A resident at the Good Samaritan Nursing home in Pontiac, Illinois appears to have been the victim of nursing home neglect when she fell on the way to the nursing home dining room.
When nursing home residents suffer a fall, it can easily cost them their mobility as well as months in physical therapy. When residents become bedridden they become more susceptible to common hospital infections, pneumonia, and bed sores. Many of these conditions can easily become fatal.
Conflicting stories regarding the incident leave many questions unanswered. According to the Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) who was with the resident at the time of the nursing home fall, the resident was walking to the dining room when she became distracted and tripped over her own feet. She hit her head on a table and fractured her humerus (upper arm bone).
According to the resident, she told the CNA that she had grown too tired to continue walking to the dining room. “I told her I couldn’t go any further, but she said to try a little harder. The next thing I knew the floor was coming up and I was on my face.” Doctors at the Pontiac, Illinois hospital told her that the break was too high for a surgical repair, leaving her to face months in a sling. She is also no longer able to use the bathroom independently, attend to her own personal hygiene, or even stand on her own. She has also developed two “open areas” on her body. These areas could easily develop into bed sores.
Regardless of which story is a more accurate depiction of the incident, the resident’s plan of care called for a gait belt to be worn while walking.
A gait belt is a thick cloth belt worn around the waist of the resident. It gives aides a handle to support the resident and safeguard against exactly the kind of falls that the resident experienced.
The CNA claims that he was utilizing the gait belt during the entire walk except for the exact instance when the nursing home fall occurred. Other witnesses remember the incident differently. It doesn’t matter. A trained CNA knows that nursing home falls always happen suddenly. That’s why regulations stipulate that the gait belt be utilized at all times.
Other blog posts on nursing home falls: