IDPH has cited and fined Mount Vernon Countryside Manor after a resident there suffered a fall with a fractured leg after he leaned against his bed which rolled away from him due to the wheel locks not being applied.
The resident at issue was admitted to the nursing home after falling and suffering a fractured hip at home. He underwent surgical repair of the fracture and entered the nursing home as a short-term rehab patient with the expectation that he would be returning home after recovering from his injury and the surgery.
During the course of his admission, he became ill and was also diagnosed with covid. He was sent to the hospital and upon discharge was assigned to a new room where he was under quarantine due to the recent hospital admission and the covid diagnosis.
In preparation for this, the housekeeping staff was instructed to move a bed into the resident’s new room. However, after the bed was put into place, the wheel locks were not applied.
Having furniture in a nursing home setting locked into place is a key safety measure as many nursing home residents with strength, gait, or other mobility deficits will use pieces of furniture to support themselves and maintain balance. Further, nursing home resident are far less likely to recover their balance if it is lost when a piece of furniture they were relying on for balance rolls away from them.
Not only is keeping furniture locked and in place a common-sense safety measure, it is also consistent with federal regulations. Federal regulations pertaining to falls require that nursing homes be kept as free of accident hazards as possible, and unlocked wheels on a piece of furniture represents a significant safety hazard.
On the day of this nursing home fall, the resident had just returned that day from the hospital admission. He was alone in his room in a wheelchair. he got up from the wheelchair to put his mail on the nightstand and leaned on the bed as he did so. Because the wheels were not locked, the bed rolled away from him and he fell.
Initially he refused to go to the hospital, so x-rays were done at the nursing home which showed that he had a fracture of the femur just below the prosthesis from his recent hip fracture. The resident refused to have additional surgery on it and elected to be admitted to the nursing home for comfort care.
This was a highly preventable injury with devastating consequences. Keeping wheels locked in place is a basic, common-sense safety measure, but this was not done here. As a result, the resident suffered a fracture which was especially significant due to his recent injury at home as well as its location. Its location near the prosthesis meant that the surgery to repair the fracture would be complex and difficult. It is unlikely that this resident will ever bear weight again in any meaningful way and will be subject to a host of complications that are associated with immobility including a general acceleration of his decline, pneumonia, and bed sores.
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. 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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