IDPH has cited and fined Carlinville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center nursing home after a resident there suffered a fractured humerus after being dropped from a lift because the staff used a sling which should not have been used with that lift – in violation of manufacturer’s specs.
Used properly, a mechanical lift is a very beneficial piece of equipment for use in a nursing home. It allows residents who have significant strength and mobility issues to be transferred from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to chair, and so forth safely while at the same time reducing the risk of injury to residents and staff.
The key part of that statement is of course, the “used properly” part. Proper use of a mechanical lift includes making sure that there are two staff members involved in all transfers because having on person do a two-person job is a formula for disaster (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples). The other part of “proper use” is that the lift itself and all of the associated equipment is in condition for safe use and is used properly in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
The resident involved suffered from muscle wasting and atrophy and had a care plan which called for mechanical lift transfers with two staff. On the day of this nursing home fall, two aides were transferring the resident to bed when the sling came off the arm to the lift, causing the resident to fall to the floor. he was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a fractured humerus.
The cause of this nursing home fall was not readily apparent, as the lift was brand new and the sling itself was in good shape. However, further investigation revealed that the owner’s manual for the lift stated that only slings made by that manufacturer should be used with that lift. The manual went on to warn that use of slings made by a different manufacturer was unsafe and may result in injury to the resident or caregiver. The sling in use was not made by that manufacturer, and in fact, the nursing home did not have any slings made by that manufacturer.
Very clearly, the warning contained in the owner’s manual was not heeded, and the very outcome predicted in the owner’s manual came to pass. There are several levels of failure to this, including the failure to obtain the necessary accessories to the lift; failure to review the owner’s manual, and the failure to train the staff on the proper use of the new lift.
Sadly, failure to invest time in training the staff and in proper equipment is one of the hallmarks 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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