Mechanical lifts are by themselves a useful tool for doing things safely in a nursing home setting – safer for residents, safer for staff – as long as they are used properly. To be used safely, two staff members need to be involved in executing the transfer. When done properly, one staff member can operate the controls, the other can assure the safety of the resident during the transfer. When a mechanical lift transfer is attempted with only one staff member, the element that goes by the wayside is the staff member whose role is to assure the safety of the resident – and the loss of this element sets the stage for disaster.
The resident at issue had been coded on her Minimum Data Set for extensive assist of two for transfers and here care plan called for use of a mechanical lift with an assist of two for all transfers. On the day of this nursing home fall, the transfer was being attempted with a single aide. It wasn’t clear from the text of the citation exactly what occurred. The aide described the resident’s foot slipping off the foot rest while there were other staff describing the resident’s legs giving out. In either event, the resident suffered a fractured femur which required surgery.
The story itself is one that we have told many times (see here, here, here, here, and here for examples) – one person doing a two person job. It is a violation of the resident’s care plan, a violation of the facility’s own policies and procedures, and contrary to the instructions in the owner’s manual for the lift. The question of course is, why? The aide told the state surveyor that she was in a rush. This of course speaks to understaffing of the nursing home, which is something that is inherent to 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.
Other blog posts of interest: