IDPH has cited and fined Jacksonville Skilled Nursing & Rehab after a resident was injured due to an aide attempting to transfer her without a gait belt.
The resident at issue was receiving both physical and occuptional therapy. She required stand-by or contact guard assist with ambulation and minimal to moderate assist rising from a seated position to standing. Stand by assist means being close enough to get support the resident in the event of a loss of balance; contact guard is having hands on the resident but not providing any support unless there is a loss of balance. This kind of assistance, as well as minimal to moderate assist in rising requires the use of a gait belt, if done properly.
A gait belt is a canvas strap which is applied around the torso of the resident. It is an essential piece of equipment for CNA’s. It is a fall prevention device and assists in safe transfers and ambulation of residents, and actually reduces the risk of injury to both the aide and the resident. The alternative is to hold onto the resident’s clothing which is at risk of tearing, or the resident’s body – which can cause injury to the resident.
In this case, the CNA attempted to assist the resident from a seated position by pulling her arm instead of using the gait belt as the resident actually requested (and failing to do so in these circumstances is truly a form of nursing home abuse). When the aide did so, the resident experienced pain in the chest, severe enough to make her scream. She told the state surveyor that it hurt so much it took her breath away.
Over the next few days, the staff noted significant complaints of pain, a decline in the ability to participate in physical therapy, and use of pain medication. She complained that it hurt to cough and was no longer able to get her shoes on independently. The resident told the surveyor that she thought she was going backwards.
These injuries were not necessarily life-changing, but very easily could have been. Our firm handled a case a number of years ago where the aide chose to not use the gait belt, and as a result, a nursing home fall occurred with a hip fracture that led to the development of bed sores and osteomyelitis and the wrongful death of the nursing home resident. Even this situation, where the resident suffered a chest wall injury, could very easily have led to the resident developing pneumonia. Failing to use the gait belt was utterly inexcusable.
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 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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