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“A fall for someone who is 91 and fail, it really ends her quality of life”
Mindy Greiling, a caring daughter and state representative in Minnesota, sums it up best when describing the spiral of events that her mother experienced following a fall at the Samaritan Bethany. Until you witness the first-hand decline patients experience following a fall, it can be difficult to relate to the experiences gone through by both patients and their families.
Unlike falls in younger people, elderly people involved in ‘minor’ falls can experience devastating consequences from both a physical and psychological point of view. Perhaps most frustrating in these cases is the fact that many of these falls contribute to a patient’s loss of will to live.
In the case of Ms. Greiling’s mother, a momentary lapse in judgment by a nurses aid contributed to a fall and subsequent injuries including a fractured back and closed head injuries. After a hospitalization for treatment for her injuries, Ms. Greilings mother succumb to her injuries just a couple of months later.
The Post-Bulletin had an insightful article about the struggles Ms. Greiling experienced following her mother’s death including her experience with an investigation into the incident performed by the state department of health.
You can take a look at the article with the link abuse, but I thought one of the more interesting aspects of the article was the fact that state investigators cited the nurses aide responsible for caring for the elderly woman for neglect, but not on the part of the facility.
To me, this was particularly frustrating as I have a difficult time understanding how the negligence of a nurses aide / nursing home employee is not attributable to facility itself?
Either way, in situations fall-related claims against a nursing facility can actually be more difficult to prosecute when the staff member is present for the incident. In these cases, facilities tend to argue (sometimes successfully) that the negligence on the part of the employee was isolated and certainly not a reflection of a systematic problem. Probably true. However, I’m sure such justification does little to ease the frustration of a grieving family.
Related Nursing Home Abuse Blog Entries:
Results From the National Osteoporosis Risk Low Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women: Identification and Fracture Outcomes of Undiagnosed Assessment (pdf) The Journal of the American Medical Association (2001)