IDPH has cited and fined the Presence St. Joseph Center nursing home in Freeport after as resident there was dropped from a sling during transfer, suffering a head injury.
Mechanical lifts are a useful tool in a nursing home. They assist the staff with transferring residents from surface to surface such as to or from a bed, chair, wheelchair, or toilet. Used properly, they reduce the risk of injury to residents and actually reduce the risk of back, neck, and injuries to staff from straining to move residents. However, the key part of that sentence is, “used properly….”
The resident at issue was dependent upon the staff to move her from the wheelchair to her bed. Her care plan called for the use of a mechanical lift with the assist of two staff members. On this particular day, there were actually two staff members available to participate in the transfer (something which is not always the case, as we have seen (see here, here, here,and here for examples)).
Part of transferring a resident safely using a lift involves making sure that the sling is properly hooked onto the lift itself. When it isn’t, there is a risk that the sling will come detached from the lift itself causing the resident to fall from the sling.
This appears to have been the case here. The resident was being transferred from her wheelchair to the bed. The aides got the resident placed properly in the sling and attached the sling to the lift itself. However, during the lift, the sling holding her right leg came detached from the lift causing the resident to fall from the sling and land on the floor, hitting her head. There was immediate, profuse bleeding, so 911 was called.
The investigation into the incident revealed that there were no defects with the lift itself or the sling, and that the resident didn’t move or do anything which would have caused her to fall or the sling to become detached. The only explanation for this nursing home fall is that the sling was not properly attached to the lift itself.
The paramedics brought the resident to the hospital where scans were negative for more significant findings such as a brain bleed or a fracture. The head wound was closed with two staples and she was returned to the nursing home. However, the fact that the injury was not more serious was a matter of good luck, not good care, and relying on good luck to keep nursing home residents safe is a poor way to go.
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: