IDPH has cited and fined Grove of St. Charles nursing home after a resident there became injured in a wheelchair accident.
Wheelchairs are one of the most common pieces of equipment used in a nursing home setting and at first blush are very simple to use safely. However, even these simple devices can prove dangerous when not used properly.
On the morning of the injury, aides were escorting three residents on a morning walk around the facility through the parking lot. The residents were walking side by side when the left rear wheel of one of the resident’s wheelchairs caught the edge of a manhole cover. Unfortunately for the resident, the aide had neglected to attach the foot pedals to the resident’s wheelchair.
The use of leg pedals on a wheelchair helps to position the hips back if there is a sudden “jerk” while in motion. They keep the knees up and the person back in their seat.
As the chair became stuck in the manhole cover, the resident lurched forward and fell out of the chair, landing on the pavement.
The resident suffered a progression of an existing neck fracture, a shoulder dislocation, and a hematoma on her forehead.
Sadly, the resident had been mobile prior to the fall and had been able to wheel herself around the hallways but has subsequently become primarily bed bound after the injury.
A janitor, examining the manhole cover after the accident, noted that it was painted yellow and was set down three-quarters of an inch below the surrounding asphalt. The janitor also noted that there was ample room on either side of the manhole cover and that the aide should have been able to wheel the resident around the cover, not over it.
Like all pieces of equipment in a nursing home, a wheelchair is a safe piece of equipment – when used properly. This includes using the footrests – the use of which would have helped to prevent this kind of accident. The misuse of the wheelchair was the immediate cause of this accident.
The fact that such an obvious safety measure was not taken raises serious questions as to whether this is an understaffed nursing home. When the facts of an accident show that the staff was taking a shortcut which placed the safety of the resident at risk, it could be an indicator that the staff was not trained properly or that the staff simply did not have time to do things properly. Either way, this raises questions about how the nursing home is being operated. 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.