Winchester House, a Lake County, Illinois nursing home, has chosen to settle a pending nursing home negligence lawsuit involving a resident who fell multiple times in the facility and ultimately died. Under the terms reached during mediation, the family of Helen Menneke will receive $1 million for the loss of their 83-year-old relative.
Helen Menneke was admitted to Winchester House in 2004 for treatment and care of dementia. Ms. Menneke fell several times over the course of her admission, suffering a traumatic brain injury and fractured bones.
Although nurses implemented an alarm system for Ms. Menneke’s bed and wheelchair, they were unsuccessful in preventing additional falls. The nursing home has reportedly made changes in the manner nursing home employees check on nursing home residents following this lawsuit.
How many falls must occur before a nursing home can be held responsible for a resident’s fall-related injuries? The answer is dependent upon the needs of the resident. If the individual required full assistance for transfers and care needs, the nursing home owes a duty to provide staffing assistance at all times. If however, the resident is more independent the duty of a facility becomes somewhat clouded.
Regardless of the resident’s fall-risk potential, the nursing home must take notice after a resident falls. After the nursing home has notice of a resident fall, the facility must re-evaluate their preventative measures to prevent additional falls from occurring. The use a restraints, alarms and most importantly staff supervision are key to assuring nursing home residents remain safe. If your loved one has sustained a injury from a fall, do not assume the fall was not preventable. An experienced nursing home attorney will be able to evaluate the matter and determine if the nursing home may be responsible for the injury.