IDPH has cited and fined Lexington of Chicago Ridge nursing home after a resident there suffered a broken ankle in an unsafe attempt at transferring the resident from her bed to a wheelchair.
The resident care plan is fundamental to providing good care to nursing home residents. It measures the threats to the health and well-being of the resident and outlines a series of steps which must be followed to keep the resident safe and healthy. However, for the care plan to work, the staff must be trained to follow it and then it must in fact be implemented on a day-to-day, shift-to-shift basis. When the care plan is not followed, a resident’s safety and well-being is the result of good luck, not good care – and that is no way to run a nursing home.
The resident at issue suffered from a series of musculoskeletal issues including multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, and generalized weakness. A few months before her injury, she had been enrolled in physical therapy where use of a slide board for transfers was one of the goals. However, that goal was discontinued without having been met. Her care plan called for full body lift which means using a mechanical lift for transfers.
On the day of this accident, a CNA brought in from an agency was assigned to care for the resident. The resident needed to be transferred from her bed to her wheelchair, and the decision was made to use the slide board to attempt the transfer. A second aide came in to assist with the transfer, and in the process of attempting this transfer, the resident’s foot rolled underneath her. She experienced pain and swelling in the ankle. X-rays showed that the ankle was fractured. This required surgical repair.
This was a highly preventable accident but due to an unsafe transfer, avoidable injury occurred. There was a care plan which was in place that called for an appropriate method of transfer in light of the resident’s condition and limitations. There was even a way of communicating that to the staff – there was a card in the resident’s room that had the necessary information. None of the staff apparently looked at it the day of this injury, and as a result, this resident suffered an unnecessary fracture. With the amount of recovery time necessary for this injury, this resident is likely to suffer significant loss of ability to bear weight and/or ambulate over the long term which sets the stage for developing bed sores.
The fact that the staff did not know to or did not care to look at the resident information card speaks to a poorly trained staff. Having a poorly trained staff or an understaffed nursing home speaks to an unwillingness on the part of management to invest in the staff at the nursing home. Unfortunately, this is one of the calling cards of the nursing home business model. 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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