IDPH has cited and fined Seminary Manor nursing home in Galesburg after a resident there suffered a fatal brain bleed in a fall.
Much of the routine care that residents receive in a nursing home setting is delivered as a result of the care planning process. In the care planning process, the nursing staff undertakes an assessment of the risks to the health and well-being of the residents. When falls occur these have serious adverse effects on the health and quality of life of nursing home residents, and is therefore one of the areas that is specifically addressed in the care planning process.
When a resident is assessed as being at risk for falls, the nursing home staff must put in place a care plan to address the risk of falls. A care plan is an actual written document that sets for the steps, or interventions that the staff must carry out on a day-to-day, shift-to-shift basis. Failing to carry out the steps set forth in the care plan can serve as the basis of a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit. One of the common measure that is taken as a measure to address fall risk to place the bed in the lowest position, which is actually only a matter of inches off the floor. Leaving the bed in that position, usually in conjunction with the use of a floor mat, helps reduce the frequency and severity of resident injuries.
The resident at issue here was admitted to the nursing home for rehabilitation. The resident had a history of falls before coming to the nursing home, and was assessed as a fall risk due to his history of falls, dementia, poor safety awareness and impulse control, and mobility deficits related to weakness. The care plan called for, among other things, placing the bed in the lowest position.
On the day of this nursing home fall, the resident’s physician ordered an x-ray of the resident’s hand. Rather than have the resident go to the hospital or an outpatient lab, a portable x-ray service was brought in. When the technician arrived at the nursing home, the resident was in bed with the bed in the lowest position. An aide helped the technician raise the bed up to get the x-ray done.
While the technician was doing his work, a call light went off. The aide asked if it was okay to leave, and the technician said yes. While the aide was gone, the technician finished his work and left the room, with the resident in bed in the raised position. He did not lower the bed because he did not know how. On his way out of the nursing home, he told the staff that he was leaving but not that the bed remained in a raised position.
Shortly after the technician left, the resident’s roommate called for help. Staff responding to the cries for help entered the room to find the resident on the floor, bleeding from a head wound. He was sent to the hospital where a CT scan showed that he was suffering from a brain bleed. He died five days later as a consequence of the injuries from the fall.
The nursing home here had a reasonable care plan in place to prevent just this kind of injury – to keep the bed in the lowest position. However, at the moment of the fall, the bed was in a raised position, approximately three feet from the floor. This fact pattern underlines the necessity of carrying out the care plan on a day-to-day, shift-to-shift basis. And while the technician was the one who left the bed in the raised position, the staff knew that he needed help adjusting the height of the bed yet left everyone unattended with the bed in a raised position.
The portable x-ray company also bears some liability for the acts of its technician. The technician left the resident in a raised position when he knew that the nursing home staff had the bed lowered. When he left the resident was unattended and then the technician did not tell the staff that the the resident’s bed was still in a raised position.
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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