IDPH has cited and fined Aperion Care of Westchester nursing home after a resident there developed pneumonia due to improper care while being fed through a feeding tube.
At a minimum pneumonia is a serous illness for senior citizens and other medically fragile individuals, and can prove fatal in some cases. One of the common causes of pneumonia in a nursing home setting is aspiration of foreign substances into the lungs. This can occur when things like food, saliva, or digestive tract contents are inhaled.
Aspiration pneumonia is one of the recognized risks of tube feeding. Essentially, the risk is that the feeding solution will make its way up into the respiratory tract before being digested. To help combat this risk, the person receiving the tube feeding should be kept with the the head of the bed elevated to at least 30 degrees while the tube feeding is underway and then for another 30-60 minutes after the tube feeding is completed. Here, the resident’s care plan included those precautions.
On the day of the incident, the nurse completed giving the resident their feeding via the feeding tube and flushed the tube. She left the room with the head of the resident’s bed elevated at 30 degrees. Approximately an hour later, the nurse was summoned to the room by an aide who was not assigned to the resident but happened to be going down the hallway and could tell that the resident needed assistance.
When the nurse arrived in the room, she found the resident laying flat in her bed. There were yellowish secretions consistent with the feeding tube solution coming from the resident’s mouth. The resident was in apparent distress with elevated heart and respiratory rates, but her oxygen saturations having dropped to 78.
The paramedics were called. They found the resident in severe visual, respiratory distress with foreign matter coming from the mouth. The paramedics reported that they were told by the staff that the resident had been receiving her g-tube feeding while laying flat. The resident was brought to the hospital to receive care for severe respiratory distress.
The investigation into the incident by IDPH did not reveal how the head of the bed ended up in a flat position, although the statements made by the staff to the paramedics suggest that it was in a low position throughout. At a minimum the condition of the resident was such that it could not have been lowered by her, so someone else did this. This amounts to a violation of the care plan and is evidence of poor training of the staff seeing as this is a fundamental when it comes to providing care to residents with feeding tubes.
Sadly, training the staff properly requires making investments in the staff. The choice to not invest in the training of the staff is unfortunately a part 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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