IDPH has cited and fined Accolade Paxton Senior Living after a resident there suffered injury from being left on a bed pan for over 2 hours.
Besides providing the basic care that nursing home resident require, it is part of the job of the nursing home staff to treat residents there with respect and to assure their dignity. The physical injuries that this resident suffered do not appear to have been severe, but the aide’s approach to caring for this resident can most fairly be characterized as being a prime example of nursing home abuse.
When a resident sounds a call light, it is part of the job of the staff to respond to the call light and attend to the resident’s needs in a timely way. When the staff routinely fails to respond to call lights and meet the care needs of the residents, they are effectively training the residents that no one is coming for them when they sound the call light. This sets the stage for disaster – residents who need help walking may simply give up on waiting for staff and get up on their own, setting the stage for a nursing home fall.
Many nursing homes have electronic call light systems where response times can be tracked for a particular resident, for a wing, or the facility as a whole, and this is information which we routinely request in nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits.
This particular resident needed the assistance of a single staff member for transfers and for toileting. She sounded the call light shortly after 4 a.m., and when the aide arrived, she told the resident that she was “too busy” to help her to the toilet and placed her on a bed pan. After she was done using the bed pan, she sounded the call light over and over … with no response.
When the change of shift occurred at 6 a.m., the aide who was leaving told her replacement that the resident was on the bed pan, but did not say for how long. After the resident sounded the call light again, the aide came to help her off the bed pan – at approximately 6:30 a.m. When she did so, the resident said that it hurt and her skin tore away. When the state inspector came, she saw visible yellow and purple buises on the resident’s buttocks.
The most powerful part of the citation is this:
[The resident] looked away and was visibly upset and shaky. “Nobody came to help me untigl after the day shift came in. It was stuck to me. I think my skin came off! Nobody came. I was scared! I can’t explain how bad it was.” [The resident] sighed deeply and looked away. [The resident’s] lower lip quivered.
The physical injuries to this resident may have been minor but the assault on her dignity was significant. Events like this are why nursing home residents at times describe being afraid of staff members and reluctant to be assertive in demanding the care that they need – because the staff can simply leave them sitting on a bed pan for hours on end instead of taking them to the toilet like they requested because they are “too busy.”
Being “too busy,” having events like this occur, and having extended call light are the hallmarks of a nursing home that is understaffed. Understaffing of a nursing home sets the stage for poor outcomes such as falls, bed sores, and medication errors. Sadly, understaffing of a nursing home is part 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.
Other blog posts of interest: