IDPH has cited and fined Casey Healthcare nursing home after a resident there fell from a van while being unloaded after an outing.
The nursing home has arranged for a pontoon boat outing for the residents and transported them back and forth from the outing with a van equipped with a lift. When the group returned from the outing, the wheelchair-bound residents were being unloaded one by one. The staff had unloaded one resident and was bringing that resident into the facility. The resident at issue had been loaded onto his wheelchair. There was one aide left on the van and she claims to have applied his wheelchair brakes. She turned her back on the resident ans when she turned around she saw that he was propelling himself backwards toward the open lift door to the van. She tried to reach him, but he toppled over backwards out of the open doorway landing on his back and shoulders. He was taken for x-rays which showed that he has suffered two broken ribs.
Broken ribs are a surprisingly serious injury for nursing home residents. Having fractured ribs makes it difficult to breathe in deeply which in turn increases the risk of developing pneumonia which can start its own downward spiral for the overall health and well-being of the resident.
There are a couple of simple ways that this nursing home fall could have been prevented. The first of these would have been to simply raise the lift plate back into place before bringing the other resident back into the nursing home. Leaving an open doorway like that is dangerous in the same way that leaving a stairwell door unlocked or the opening to an elevator shaft open. These are things that pose a risk of significant harm to the resident with no corresponding benefit. The other way to prevent this accident would be to simply supervise the resident more closely. The aide who was left in the van claims to have applied the brakes to the wheelchair (and if this wasn’t in fact done, that would be its own issue), but the resident allegedly released them on his own. Assuming that to be the case, simply staying with easy reach of the resident with eyes on the resident while he was near the door opening would have prevented this accident.
The fact that the aide on the ground could not take the time to raise the lift gate before bringing the other resident into the facility and the fact that the aide in the van had other things to do other than attend to the resident near the door opening speaks to not having enough help on hand to properly attend to the residents who were part of the outing. Understaffing of the nursing home is one of the features of the basic 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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