A recently disclosed Minnesota Department of Public Health report concluded the Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea was guilty of ‘neglect’ due to its delay in providing medical treatment to a resident who fell during a transfer from her bed to her wheelchair.
The episode took place on November 21st when a worker at the facility improperly used a Sabina lift to move a resident with dementia into a wheelchair. During the transfer, the resident fell and fractured her hip.
A ‘care plan’ specifically stated that the resident was to wear shoes or gripper socks during transfers. At the time of the incident, the resident was wearing stockings that “enabled her feet to slip from the base of the lift, causing her to fall onto her right hip,” according to the state’s investigative report.
The resident involved in the incident suffered a stroke prior to her admission and was unable speak and was dependent on the staff for daily living activities. Despite the resident’s disabilities, six staff at the facility were aware of the resident’s fall and the possibility of her injury because she was behaving differently after the episode– yet no medical attention was provide for more than 19 hours after the fall occurred.
The morning following the incident, the resident was transferred to a hospital where and x-ray confirmed the woman’s hip was indeed fractured. The hip fracture required surgery.
Good Samaritan terminated the employee who was operating the lift and the nurse-supervisor following their own investigation into the matter. According to the nursing home’s own investigation, the employee responsible for the lift also failed to provide ‘satisfactory’ care to two other residents in the days following the lift incident.
Transfers In Nursing Homes
A ‘transfer’ in a nursing home setting generally refers to moving a patient from a bed to a wheelchair. Transfers are usually done two ways: using nursing assistants or mechanically (Hoyer / Sabina lift). The type of transfer depends mainly on the patients physical condition. If a patient is capable of providing some assistance, a staff lift (one or two person transfer) is generally done. However, if a patient is paralyzed or suffers from physical disability, the use of a mechanized lift may be required to safely transfer the patient.
The choice of how to transfer a patient from a bed to a wheelchair is up to the facility. A determination of the type of transfer should be part of the evaluation when a person is admitted to the facility and for quarterly reviews of nursing home patient needs. It is crucial for the staff at the facility to use the properly predetermined transfer technique or the nursing home resident is at risk to injury.
If you or a relative sustained an injury during a ‘transfer’ to wheelchair, walker or toilet, there is a strong likelihood the staff responsible for supervising made an error. We have handled many similar lift-related injury cases. Put our experience to work for you. To speak with our team of nursing home attorneys, call (800) 926-7565.
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