IDPH has cited and fined Alden Park Strathmoor nursing home in Rockford after a resident there suffered a broken hip while being transferred to the toilet.
The resident at issue had a history of having had a stroke and had some left-sided weakness as a result of the stroke. Her care plan called for the assist of two staff members with transfers and toileting. The nursing home’s own policies and procedures called for the use of a gait belt (a canvas strap that is applied around the resident’s midsection to help control the resident and prevent falls and injuries) during transfers.
On the day of this nursing home fall, the resident was being transferred to the toilet with the assistance of a single aide rather than the two that the care plan called for. The aide doing the transfer was also not using a gait belt. When the resident was positioned on top of the toilet stool, she was not squarely on the toilet stool but slightly off to her left, stroke-weakened side. She slid off the toilet stool, landing on her left side.
She was brought to the hospital where she was diagnosed as having a fractured left hip. She underwent surgical repair of the broken hip.
There are a couple of obvious failures in the care that was being provided here. First, the aide was attempting the transfer by herself when the help of two people was called for in the care plan. One person doing a two-person job is a recurrent theme (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples) in many of the nursing home falls which we have covered in this blog. Second, the aide failed to use a gait belt during the transfer in violation of the nursing home’s own policies. Had a gait belt been used, the aide would likely have found it easier to properly place the resident on the commode and would have likely been able to stop or slow the fall once it occurred.
This resident survived the surgery and the immediate post-operative period. This is not always the case, which would result in a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit. Even when nursing home residents survive the surgery itself, having a fractured hip often bodes poorly for their long-term outlook due to complications associated with hip fractures.
Of course, there are obvious immediate reasons why this nursing home fall occurred which we discussed above. The deeper and more interesting issues relate to why this aide attempted the transfer by herself instead of getting help and why the aide failed to take the time to use a gait belt. The answers to those questions likely relate to the understaffing of the nursing home, which is an essential feature 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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