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A report issued by the Minnesota Department of Heath has cited White Community Hospital and Nursing Home (Minnesota) for errors made by a nursing assistant during the transfer of a patient out of her bed.
The incident occurred when the CNA attempted to transfer a disabled patient from their bed to a wheelchair using a sling. During the transfer, the patient was dropped. The patient suffered a broken arm and leg which contributed to their death two days later.
Specifically, the department of Minnesota health report and the facilities own investigators determined that the CNA’s errors caused the patient’s injuries and subsequent death. In particular, the CNA and nursing home failed to:
- Use two-person lifting technique
- Properly train staff
- Develop and follow a comprehensive ‘care plan’ for the patient
Laura Ackman, the nursing home’s CEO called the patient’s death, “an unfortunate accident, and we regret it very much.” According to Ackman, the facility took immediate corrective action, including staff training and the purchase of new equipment.
Certainly, from the information we know about this incident, it appears that the family of this nursing home patient would have a strong case against the nursing home should they wish to pursue a wrongful death case against them.
I applaud the facility for taking corrective measures following this incident. Nonetheless, it sounds as though the root of the problem is related to under-staffing.
Despite federal regulations that require nursing homes to have certain ‘minimum staffing levels’, many facilities simply do not have adequate numbers of staff to provide quality care for their patients. In the situation discussed above, I am certain that a closer examination of the situation would reveal that there simply was inadequate staff around to assist him or her with lifting the patient.
At a minimum, federal law requires nursing homes to have: at least one RN for at least 8 straight hours a day, 7 days a week, and either an RN or LPN/LVN on duty 24 hours per day.