When Patient Safety Is An Afterthought, Employee Carelessness Frequently Results In Patient Injury

hospital bed.jpgMany long-time Nursing Home Abuse Blog readers have heard me rant about how many of the commonly encountered problems— and resulting injuries encountered by nursing home patients occur as the result of one thing— employee carelessness!

Sure, the implementation of educational programs at nursing homes my help get patient safety back into the minds of staff members, but even the best safety programs require careful and conscientious staff to see that that are properly implemented.

In this sense, one of most disturbing trends I am seeing— particularly, amongst patients in nursing homes and hospitals— is patients getting injured while they are being transported in the facility by staff.  

That’s right, the CNA’s and other custodial staff responsible for carefully pushing the wheelchairs or stretchers, I’m seeing the most basic precautions thrown out the window as staff hastily move patients about.  Over the past six months alone, I’ve seen situations involving patient injury that really derive from sloppiness on the part of staff including:

  • Patients thrown out of beds and wheelchairs because wheel-locks weren’t engaged
  • Patients falling out of beds because side-rails were never raised
  • Staff not properly assembling beds and wheelchairs
  • Staff failing to secure patients arms and legs in wheelchairs thereby allowing them to get caught or tangled on other other equipment
  • Staff failing to load patients in elevators properly- allowing doors to close on them
  • Patients being left unattended to in cluttered areas

Though many of these situations seem far-fetched and somewhat laughable, they indeed are the very real culprits of real injuries– sometimes far more disabling than more traditional conceptions of nursing home negligence or medical malpractice.

However due to the very real nature of these sloppy patient-safety injuries— sometimes involving fractured bones, dislodged medical devices, subdural hematomas– or even death, it is crucial to evaluate these with the same zealousness as any other type of injury related case involving a nursing home or hospital. 

Particularly given the fact that most of these situations will occur ‘behind the closed doors’ of the medical facility, it is important to both recognize the potential significance of the injury and seek medical treatment as soon as feasible secondly bring the situation to the attention of staff at the facility to assure there is some documentation related to the event. Don’t be victimized twice for an employees plain old carelessness.


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