There are many situations involve nursing home injury that involve affirmative acts on the part of staff– where an improper medical technique, lift or inappropriate dose of medication may have disastrous consequences for the patient. Yet, there are other situations where equally horrible outcomes arise because of inattentive staff.
Sure, there really may be countless reasons why staff may be inattentive, but the primary reasons usually come down to inadequate staffing on the part of the facility itself. When nursing home owners and operators heap more and more responsibility on staff– something must give– as there is only so much time to do what’s necessary and so much energy with which to do it.
Certainly, we could likely tie many common types of nursing home injuries into this common scenario. But I was again reminded of how incredibly important it is for nursing home staff to monitor the patients they are caring for, when I came across the news report of an Australian woman who died apparently from strangulation when she was left unsupervised on the toilet— likely for six hours!
A formal investigation is now underway concerning the strangulation death of a 90-year-old woman at an Australian nursing home who was routinely left on the toilet by staff at the facility. According to news reports, the woman who suffered from Parkinson’s and required full assistance from staff to get around somehow got entrapped in a shower cord without the knowledge of the staff.
Particularly in situations where patients need to use the bathroom, I have seen numerous situations where staff mistakenly assume personal privacy should take priority over following a patients care plan requirements that may require full assistance with daily living needs. While the initial visits to the toilet may indeed be awkward for both patient and staff– staff supervision can frequently mean the difference between patient safety and an unnecessary injury or death.