Nursing Homes Failure To Implement Use Of Bed-Alarm Blamed For Death Of Elderly Patient

An investigation into the fall-related death of patient at Mountain Manor of Paintsville (Kentucky) has resulted in a type A citation against the facility.  The citation comes after an investigation into a patient’s death at the facility when he fell from his bed.

Nursing Homes Failure To Implement Use Of Bed-Alarm investigation demonstrated that just days after being admitted to the facility, and after several documented attempts to get out of bed, the facility failed to properly supervise the patient and implement safety precautions such as a bed alarm as ordered by the patient’s physician.

Two days after the script for the bed alarm was written by the patient’s physician, the nursing home patient was found on the floor—next to his bed.  The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for broken ribs and facial fractures to the area around his eyes.

Eight days after the incident, the man died due to lung complications brought about by his rib fractures sustained in the fall.

Incidentally, Type A citations are handed down by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Office of Inspector General after an investigation into a nursing home incident has determined that the residents’ life or safety was endangered due to violations of state regulations.

Bed Alarms For Patients At Risk For Fallingbed alarm

As you likely have guessed, bed alarms are devices used by nursing homes and hospitals to alert the staff when the patient attempts to get out of the bed on their own.  Should the patient attempt to do so, an alarm is triggered at the staffing desk, which would theoretically allow the staff to re-direct the patient or provide assistance to them.

Bed alarms and similar products used on wheelchairs or regular chairs require the timely response of facility staff to be effective.  If staff ignores the alarm or are too busy to properly respond to the patients, the safety device is ineffective.

Depending upon the facility, bed alarms may be deemed a restraining device and necessitate an order from a physician and / or consent from the family (particularly in cases where the patient is disabled).  If you believe that use of a bed alarm is in the best interest of your loved one, you should speak to the nursing home administrator or DON and ask what the process is for obtaining such a device at that particular facility.

For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.


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Paintsville nursing home cited in resident’s death Lexington Herald –Leader November 13, 2010 by Valarie Honeycutt Spears

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