The Illinois Department of Public Health cited the Clayberg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cuba, Illinois due to an injurious fall that ended up in a broken arm.
Patient Had a Recognized Fall Risk
The injured resident had a recognized fall risk marked by her history of falling alongside unsteadiness and some weakness in her legs. Specifically, she had been designated to require extensive assistance when doing transfers and using the toilet.
When a nursing home resident has this requirement, a staff member has to physically ‘lay a hand’ on them to assist them with their movements, as opposed to just watching them and letting them move on their own.
In this particular case, the Clayberg resident had an aide that assisted her in showering, bathing, and getting dressed. However, as the aide was picking up towels, the resident was left in a standing position without a gait belt on and without someone physically assisting her as she stood. The resident lost her balance and suffered a fall that resulted in her arm fracture.
Most Nursing Home Falls can Be Prevented
In many cases, nursing home residents require the use of a gait belt, a wide canvas strap that wraps around the midsection of their body and is held by the nursing home aide. This allows the aide to keep the residents upright and help them control their movements. Additionally, if the resident loses their balance, the aide can maneuver the fall to minimize the chances of injury on the resident.
This incident highlights the responsibility of nursing homes and their staff to follow care protocols to the letter. Even just a momentary deviation from gait belt use can lead to painful injuries, especially for older or impaired residents. An incident like this could just as easily result in life-threatening conditions like head trauma or spine injuries.
It also illustrates that many nursing home injuries could be prevented, if only the facility upholds its obligations towards residents. Often, injuries on residents are chalked up as accidents when they are a direct result of the facility’s or their staff member’s failure to do their duty.
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