IDPH has cited and fined Meadows Mennonite Home in Chenoa after a resident there fell during a mechanical lift transfer and suffered a fractured pelvis.
The resident at issue was one who needed to be transferred with a mechanical lift. Per facility policy, transferring a resident with a mechanical lift is always a job that is supposed to be done with two staff members. This is a crucial safety measure as it allows one staff member to operate the lift while the other is in position to manage the resident during the transfer. Having two staff members participate in a mechanical lift transfer is an issue which we have covered here on this blog repeatedly (see here, here, here, here, and here just as a few examples) and one which the Department of Public Health regularly issues citations when mechanical lift accidents result in injuries to residents.
This is yet another example of one person trying to do a two-person job. The aide who was doing the transfer reported that the other aide assigned to that area of the nursing home was busy with another patient and the nurse on the floor was not available to help, so she attempted the transfer by herself. The resident was being transferred from bed to her wheelchair and was in position over her wheelchair when the sling aparently came off the hook and the resident slid out of the sling and onto the floor.
The resident was taken to the hospital where it was determined that she suffered a fractured pelvis. This is an injury for which there are very few treatment options which means that the resident will simply have to deal with the pain each time she is turned and repositioned in bed, that the resident will have more difficulty standing even for short periods of time, which can lead to the development of bed sores.
There is an obvious immediate cause of an accident like this: the aide tried to transfer the resident by herself when it was a two-person job. There is a deeper level, and that likely goes to understaffing of the nursing home which is a common feature of the nursing home business model. It also speaks to an issue of culture in the nursing home: this was a risky decision made by this aide, but she went ahead and did it anyway. Well-run nursing homes put the safety of the residents as top priority, and making this kind of decision was a line which should not have been crossed.
This nursing home fall also raises an issue of the training of the staff. The explanation offered for the fall was that the sling came off the hooks for the lift. When used properly, a machanical lift is generally a safe device to use, but that requires that the sling be attached to the lift properly. When the sling is not attached properly, the device doesn’t work as intended, and accidents result. Besides the fact that the aide didn’t follow the basic safety precautions of having two staff members participate in this transfer, the other root cause of this accident was likely a failure of staff training.
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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