A resident at Pinckneyville Health Care Center in Pinckneyville, Illinois died after suffering numerous nursing home falls at the facility. The final, fatal fall was unwitnessed despite the resident being placed at the nurses’ station for easy observation. Staff at Pinckneyville Health Care stated that the wheelchair alarm and padded lap cushion that the resident had were being utilized as required. They claim that the resident waited until staff had left to administer medications, then removed both devices and rose to her feet before collapsing.
While the official story from the facility seems somewhat dubious, it was still enough for the Illinois Department of Health to levy a $25,000 fine against the Pinckneyville Health Care Center.
The final fall was only one of dozens suffered by that particular resident. Just a week earlier, she fell twice in a single day. The first time she was found on the floor by another resident of the facility. She was transferred to the emergency room to address a wound on her head and then returned to Pinckneyville Health Care Center. There, she fell a second time. This nursing home fall was witnessed by another resident. Still, there was no investigation conducted by the nursing home.
There was no investigation by Pinckneyville Health Care Center staff as to the cause of either of the nursing home falls, nor were there any preventative measures taken to prevent further falls.
In fact, nursing home falls were tragically common for the resident. She fell six times in September. No investigations were conducted to determine the cause of her falls and no interventions were put in place. In fact, she had suffered 46 nursing home falls since she was admitted to Pinckneyville Health Care Center one year prior to her death. During the 21 days of October before her fatal fall, she fell 8 times. 3 of those falls resulted in head injuries.
This case is both a tragedy and a travesty. The lack of concern for the resident’s well being is clearly demonstrated by the failure to investigate the root cause of so many nursing home falls as well as the complete failure to apply interventions that may have stopped the falls from recurring.
If you have a loved one who has suffered numerous nursing home falls while in a hospital or nursing home, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. Nursing homes have an obligation to investigate each nursing home fall that occurs, and to put measures in place to prevent falls from occurring.