While any medical facility— including nursing homes– can have episodes involving poor care and patient injury, my personal experience is that the overwhelming majority of nursing home injury cases involve a more pervasive problem at the facility that goes far beyond an sporadic misstep by a staff member.
The fact that most nursing home patients are cared for by a series of caregivers throughout the course of the day further solidifies the concept that when problems do arise is usually means that errors were made not just on the part of one or two caregivers, but likely a team of 4, 5 or 6 individuals who may have provides some form of care– and are similarly responsible for reporting complications and other problems to a supervisor or physician.
Consequently, when errors are discovered at skilled nursing facilities, the entire staff needs to be re-trained concerning the proper method for caring for their patients. Particularly after a problem has been identified, I would hope that the facility would work as a team to see that the origins of the original problem get corrected and avoid future complication.
In this light, I was disgusted to hear that just two months after an elderly nursing home patient wandered to his death from Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care Center in Belleville, IL — another patient managed to wander from the facility without the knowledge of staff. Happily, this wandering incident has a different conclusion than its predecessor as the resident was safely located approximately two hours after his suspected disappearance.
Compared with the January wandering incident there was a significant delay notifying police of the circumstance, this time staff at Midwest Rehab immediately alerted the Belleville Police Department after realizing that the 58-year-old patient had wandered from the facility.
Nonetheless, given the similarities between these incidents and the fact that they occurred within such a short time frame of one another, it is obviously clear that the hyper-scrutiny and sanctions imposed against the facility have done little to improve the safety of patients.
Perhaps this incident will convince public health officials that more significant sanctions need to be placed upon this facility in order to protect current patients from further harm from obviously defective situations.
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