IDPH has cited and fined Uptown Health Center in Chicago after an unsupervised resident fell on the smoking deck.
Federal regulations require that residents receive supervision and assistive devices necessary to prevent accidents. When there are smoking accidents at nursing homes or nursing home falls, this is often one of the regulations which has been violated.
The resident at issue had been assessed as being a fall risk in part due to generalized weakness, but also a history on nine – yes, nine – prior falls. He had a fall prevention care plan which included as one of the steps wearing proper footwear. He was a smoker, and part of his care plan addressed the risks associated with smoking by providing that he would not smoke without supervision. There was also a facility-wide policy that essentially provided for the same thing.
The resident was injured in a fall occurring on January 14. When the fall occurred he was on the smoking deck unsupervised, wearing only a pair of nonskid socks – no shoes. As a result of the fall, he suffered a laceration to his head which required stitches. Residents advised the state inspector that there frequently was no staff present when residents were out on the smoking deck and that some of the residents who suffered from psychiatric issues would “pee and poop” on the smoking deck.
The injury that this resident suffered was not severe, but that was a matter of luck, not good care, as nursing home falls can just as easily and often do end in devastating injuries such as brain bleeds or fractured hips. Getting lucky is not a substitute for providing proper care.
Past the fact that this particular incident demonstrates rampant violations of care plans and facility policies, the fact the residents are often left unsupervised on the smoking deck leaves open the potential for a smoking accident due to mishandling of smoking materials or use of smoking materials near compressed oxygen. This is something that has the potential for serious injuries which can lead to the wrongful death of one of the nursing home residents.
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 residents are the inevitable results. 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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