A dangerous nursing home fall led to a neck fracture for one nursing home resident at Robings Manor Rehab and Health Care in Brighton, Illinois. One staff member was fired as a result of the injury, but this particular fall may only have been a symptom of a larger pattern of nursing home neglect.
The nursing home fall occurred on December 23rd of last year. A Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) was transferring a resident from his bed to his wheelchair using a full body lift. A full body lift is a large mechanical device that lifts a patient completely into the air using a hammock sling.
Clearly, this is a serious device meant for residents with severe conditions. This resident suffered from Torsion Dystonia. It’s a little known condition that causes muscle contractions. At first the contractions are small. Then they get worse. Eventually, Torsion Dystonia contractions can be so powerful they literally bend and distort bones. Needless to say, it’s an incredibly painful and debilitating condition.
Any transfer using a full body lift requires two staff members, and yet the (CNA) was attempting to move the resident by herself. Halfway through, the lift began to topple. The resident was dropped, and the CNA used her body to block the device from falling on the resident. At this point, according to the report, the CNA “yelled for help but no one heard [HER] calls.”
The incident took place on the 23rd of December – not Christmas or even Christmas Eve. I don’t understand how there could be no other employees within shouting distance. The CNA had to ease the resident out of harm’s way as best she could and then leave the room to find help.
The Director of Nursing at Robings Manor stated that CNAs are taught to always use two people to transfer residents, but what happens if there’s only one person present?
As long as staffing levels are such that there are no nurses, doctors, or any other employees within shouting distance of caregivers and residents, the potential for nursing home falls and other accidents will continue.