The Center Home for Hispanic Elderly was cited and fined by the Illinois Department of Public Health after a resident there was discovered to have a fractured ankle.
The resident at issue had numerous long-term medical issues including muscular weakness and cognitive impairments. Due to these conditions, use of a mechanical lift with an assist of two was required. The usual process that would be followed would be for the resident to be moved from bed using a mechanical lift with a shower sling, transported to the shower room in his wheelchair, and placed in a shower chair using the lift for showering. After the shower was over, the process was to be reversed.
The day that the resident was injured, the resident was transferred to his wheelchair with a single aide, taken in for showering, and in the process of transferring the resident to the wheelchair from the shower chair, the resident’s ankle was twisted. He subsequently developed swelling and pain in the ankle. His doctor ordered x-rays which showed the ankle fracture.
This is a case where there was a reasonable assessment of the resident’s needs and a reasonable care plan in place to assure his safety. However, there are two additional steps which must be followed for a care plan to be of any real value: 1) communication – did the aide know what she was supposed to be doing? and 2) implementation – was the plan carried out?
Obviously, we know that the plan was not followed. The reason that it wasn’t should be an important point of focus in any nursing home abuse and neglect suit arising from this accident. If it was due to a breakdown in the process of communicating the care plan to the aide, then there is a facility-wide systems issue that deserves much more focused attention. If it was the case that she knew what she was supposed to do but chose not to, one issue that would deserve careful attention is the issue of understaffing – did the aide feel like she simply had too much to get done and not enough help to do so, leading her to skip the necessary safety steps.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers have great experience in analyzing the root causes of injuries from falls and unsafe transfers. Please contact us today for an analysis of your rights and options after an accident in a nursing home. There is no charge for contacting us and you are not obligated to hire us if you do call.