IDPH has cited and fined Marshall Rehabilitation after a resident there suffered a fracture to her lumbar spine in an accident while a passenger on board a van from the nursing home.
Many nursing homes operate passenger vans which are used to transport residents to and from doctor appointments or community events. When the nursing home uses a van that way, it is responsible for three things: (1) that the van is operated in a safe manner, (2) that the residents who are passengers in the van are handled and secured properly within the van, and (3) that the staff is properly trained on both of the other points. This citation was about what happens when neither is true.
The resident was in a wheelchair in the facility van returning from a doctor appointment in Champaign. There was road construction on the way back. While passing through the road construction zone, the driver hit a large bump in the road. The impact with the bump caused the resident to be jolted up and down in her wheelchair. When she came down, she felt a pop in her lower back and began to have significant ongoing pain in the low back which persisted even with the use of strong pain killers. Her doctor eventually ordered an MRI which showed an acute compression fracture in the lumbar spine. the doctor ordered that she be placed in a LSO brace (turtle shell brace) for six weeks.
The investigation into this incident showed that even though the van was equipped with a restraint system, it was not in use because the aide who was driving the can had not been trained in how to use it.
This was a highly preventable injury has the nursing home and its staff adhered to the three basic principles outlined above. First, safer driving in the form of reduced speed and keeping a safer lookout in a construction zone would have likely reduced the violence of the impact with the bump. Second, the resident was not in the restraint system which would have kept her from being thrown up out of her seat. Finally, the aide admitted that she had not been trained in the use of the restraint system.
Of the three failures, the last is the one which is most predictable given the basic nursing home business model, which includes failing to invest in the training of staff. 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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