IDPH has cited and fined Farmington County Manor nursing home after a resident there suffered a broken leg due to the failure of an aide to follow the care plan for safe resident transfers.
The resident at issue was a hospice patient, admitted to the nursing home suffering from a degenerative neurologic condition which left her without full use of her arms or her legs. Because of the loss of use of her legs, she was wheelchair bound and a care plan was put into place which called for the use of a hoyer lift for transferring the resident – for example, moving her from bed to her wheelchair. When a transfer is done with a hoyer lift, this requires the help of two staff members – one to actually operate the controls of the lift, the other to keep the resident steady in the sling.
On the day of the injury, the CNA assigned to care for the resident transferred the resident from bed to wheelchair using a technique known as a pivot transfer. This involves placing a gait belt around the midsection of the resident, lifting the resident to a standing position, and pivoting, moving the resident from bed to wheelchair. In so doing the resident’s leg twisted and she suffered a broken femur. The resident was sent to the emergency room where an orthopaedic surgeon was brought in for a consultation. Ultimately considering her overall condition, he recommended that she be placed in an immobilizer and returned to the nursing home.
This injury was very clearly the result of a violation of the resident care plan. When a resident is admitted to a nursing home a care plan is developed which is intended to address the risks to the health and well-being of the resident. In this case, due to the weakness associated with her neurologic condition, the resident was not able to bear weight sufficiently to be safely transferred in any way other than the use of a lift. It was part of the aide’s job to follow that care plan to help assure the safety of the resident.
This injury was the very predictable result of failing to follow the care plan. When people are non weight bearing for an extended period of time, they tend to develop osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease, which leaves them susceptible to suffering fractures due to movements which may not ordinarily cause injury. In this case the twisting that occurred during the pivoting movement cause the fracture. This caused the resident to suffer significant unnecessary pain.
While the failure to follow the care plan was a very clear cause of this injury, the facts here raise a question as to whether this was an understaffed nursing home. Whenever you see staff taking shortcuts in the care of residents, such as having one person doing a two-person job, it raises questions about whether this is an understaffed nursing home. Unfortunately, understaffing a nursing home is really a part of the nursing home business model, and 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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