IDPH has cited and fined Accolade Healthcare of Pontiac nursing home after a resident there suffered a hip fracture in a fall.
Fall prevention is a major focus of care in nursing homes because falls have such a devastating effect on the mortality and overall quality of life for nursing home residents. One mainstay of fall prevention is encouraging the use of a call light and leaving personal items such as books, glasses, phones, and so forth in easy reach of the resident. The basic idea of having things in easy reach is that residents don’t have to get up and down from a seated position and walk across the room to get anything.
Another mainstay in fall prevention is use of a call light. Call lights can be effective in summoning the staff for assistance. However, for that to happen, the call light must also be left in easy reach of the resident – just as with personal items.
The resident at issue was a very clear fall risk. She suffered from moderate cognitive impairments (and thus could not be relied upon to consistently make good judgments for her own safety) and had difficulty walking, using a walker or a wheelchair for mobility.
On the day of this nursing home fall, the resident was found on the floor. Her left leg was rotated, a common sign of a hip fracture. The resident did not have on nonskid footwear and had not activated her call light. However, the nurse on duty noted that the call light was hanging on the call light box on the wall. The resident was brought to the hospital where she was diagnosed as suffering from a hip fracture.
This fall was due to the failure to take the simple step of leaving the call light in a place where the resident could easily reach it without getting up. However, the call light had been placed on top of the call light box, out of reach. Besides being a common-sense failure in care, it was also a violation of the facility’s own policies and procedures which called for the call light to be in easy reach of the resident.
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: