IDPH has cited and fined Cornerstone Rehab nursing home in Peoria after a resident fell from a mechanical lift during transfer, suffering a fractured leg.
Used properly, a mechanical lift is a great tool for assuring the safety of both residents and staff during transfers. Of course, the key phrase there is “used safely” which requires two staff members participating in the transfer and all of the parts of the lift be in good shape and properly attached while in use. When those things are not true, the potential for disaster lurks.
Such was the case here.
The resident at issue required a mechanical lift for transfers. The aide involved acknowledged that two staff was required for transfers with the mechanical lift. On the night of this nursing home fall, the resident was being transferred from her wheelchair to her bed. The aide was in the room, as was a nurse who was preparing the formula for the resident”s tube feeding. The aide believed that she was had attached the loops of the sling to the lift. She began to transfer the resident as the nurse continued to work on preparing the formula for the tube feeding. After the resident was lifted up and the aide began to move the resident, the sling became detached from the lift, and the resident fell, hitting her head on the dresser and landing on her knees on the ground. X-rays showed that the resident suffered a fractured femur.
There are two basic problems with the care that was provided here. First, even though there were two people in the room, what really happened was that you had one person doing a two-person job, a situation that often ends in disaster as we have seen repeatedly here on this blog (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples. It is not enough to have two people in the room. You need to have two people actually participating in the transfer, and that was not the case here. Second, the lift wasn’t even being used correctly in that the sling was not attached to the lift properly. The chances of the transfer being completely successfully would have been higher had the sling been properly attached, but that still would have been a matter of good luck rather than good care and relying on good luck is not a sound strategy for providing care in a nursing home setting.
The real question is why the aide went ahead with the the transfer when she had to have known that she was essentially doing it by herself – it may have been a matter of minutes for the nurse to finish preparing the formula. The answer likely relates to an understaffed nursing home, and having an understaffed nursing home is one of the hallmarks of the nursing home business model. 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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