IDPH has cited and fined Hillcrest Retirement Village nursing home in Round Lake Beach after a resident there fell from a lift during a transfer and suffered multiple fractures.
A mechanical lift is an important piece of equipment in a nursing home. It aids the staff in transferring residents from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to chair, and so forth. It reduces the risk to staff from injury while attempting to do transfers manually and helps reduce the risk of injury to residents when staff attempts a manual transfer when a mechanical lift is really required (as we have seen here, here, and here, for example). However, for the lift to be as useful as it should be, the staff must be properly trained in the use of the lift and the lift and all of its component parts must be in good working order.
The resident at issue was being transferred by staff from her bed to a wheelchair using a lift. While the transfer was in progress on of the metal hooks that attached the sling to the lift frame broke, causing the resident to fall from the sling and land on the legs of the lift.
The cause of the hook failure was metal on metal friction. The lifts were supposed to be checked monthly but the staff had not been doing it. The nursing home did not have any logs as to when the lift was inspected or when maintenance work was done. The last time the nursing home had any record of the facility’s lifts being inspected was approximately 15 months prior to the accident.
This nursing home fall proves the adage, “when it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job” which is another way of expressing the idea when no one has specific accountability for getting a task done, it very often doesn’t get done. That certainly appears to be the case here as the “monthly” inspections of the lift did not get done for 15 months before disaster struck. As it turns out, the owner’s manual recommended periodic application of oil to parts where metal contacted metal. Because the inspections were not getting done and no one was responsible for maintenance of the equipment, this simple bit of maintenance never happened which in turn led to this mechanical lift accident.
So what was the consequence of this bit of routine work not being done? The resident suffered a broken clavicle, a broken scapula, and multiple broken ribs. She has severe pain and it hurts for her to be moved. It hurts to breathe and she coughs frequently. She has been placed on a puree diet to prevent a choking accident. Her doctor is very concerned that she could develop pneumonia which could turn fatal for her.
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.
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