IDPH has cited and fined Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County in Joliet after a resident there suffered a fractured femur when a mechanical lift tipped over during a transfer.
The resident at issue was dependent on staff for transfers. She had a medical history which included a prior stroke and a below the knee amputation of the right leg. Transfers were accomplished by way of a mechanical lift. Proper use of a mechanical lift requires the assistance of two staff members – one to operate the controls of the lift, the other to control the movement and positioning of the resident in the sling. We have written many times about the disastrous results which come when one person attempts a two-person job like transferring residents using a lift (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples).
Unfortunately, this was a transfer which was attempted using a single aide. The aide provided incontinence care to the resident on her own (which was itself a violation of the resident care plan), and once finished, placed the resident in the sling for the lift and began to move her to the wheelchair. As the transfer was underway, the lift reportedly jerked and then tipped over, causing the resident to fall to the floor.
The resident was brought to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a displaced, comminuted fracture of the femoral shaft. After being returned to the nursing home, the resident has experienced significant ongoing pain and was largely bed-bound. This is a situation which not only increases the isolation that this resident experiences, but also leaves her at increased risk for developing bed sores and other forms of skin breakdown.
This nursing home fall was the simple product of the aide failing to follow basic safety practices for the use of the mechanical lift. Many times when staff takes shortcuts in the care of a resident, this is due to understaffing of the nursing home. However, the investigation by IDPH into this incident showed that this nursing home was actually reasonably well-staffed.
However, it is clear that this aide (who was agency staff) was not well-trained, and failure to invest in proper training of staff is a feature, not a bug in 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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