An Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect suit has been filed against the Glenbridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre in Niles after a male resident of the nursing home fell and suffered an injury to his finger which eventually resulted in the amputation of the finger.The resident was at risk for falls and fell in his room at the facility on December 7, 2008. His finger struck a heater. There was no charting as to the condition of his finger until December 19, 2008 at which point, the finger was noted to be swollen and should be monitored for the next 5 days. There was no further charting on December 26, 2008.On January 4, 2009, he was admitted to Lutheran General Hospital, where the staff described the finger as painful, swollen and necrotic. It was amputated on January 9, 2009.As an experienced Chicago nursing home lawyer, there were a few issues that came to mind immediately upon reading about this nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit:
- The fall itself may be a legitimate basis for a lawsuit. Nursing homes must assess each resident’s fall risk and for those who are consider to be fall risks, there needs to be a fall prevention care plan that is put into place and actually implemented. Failing to develop a care plan and carry it out is a form of nursing home neglect, and if that was the case with this man, the nursing home would be liable for all of the injuries which resulted from the fall, even if the occurred days or weeks later.
- After a nursing home resident falls, most facilities place the resident on a 72-hour fall watch to monitor for developing signs and symptoms of injury from the fall. The lack of charting is a strong indicator that there was inadequate follow-up monitoring.
- When there is a change in resident’s condition, the nursing staff must notify the patient’s doctor so that the doctor can either make an order over the phone, come in to see the patient himself, or order the patient sent to the emergency room. Failing to notify the doctor is substandard nursing home care.
- When there was a note to monitor the condition of his finger for 5 days, the results of the monitoring needed to be charted. How was the each nurse who saw the resident supposed to know whether there had been a change in the baseline condition from the prior shift if it was not charted?
- Most people are surprised to hear how seldom nursing homes can chart and still comply with federal regulations, but even when the minimum is being done, good nursing home care requires charting when there are changes in the resident’s condition.
- The fact that the finger was gangrenous and necrotic when he was admitted to the hospital speaks to this being a long-standing condition, not something that developed recently. It also indicates that the nursing staff was not checking the condition of this man as frequently as was needed.