Providence Place Fall and Fatal Wheelchair Incident in Nursing Home
Providence Place Fall and Fatal Wheelchair Fall Incident – in a story in the Star Tribune on Tuesday it was noted that Minnesota Department of Health Investigators concluded that Providence Place fall after they failed to change a resident’s care plan after she had twice previously tried to open a door to a stairway. The woman eventually opened the door and rolled down a stairwell in her wheelchair and died last May. The State’s report stated that according to the care plan the resident “needed assistance of staff to avoid potentially dangerous situations.” The resident had a suffered from anxiety, depression and other behavior problems, and had a history of wandering around the facility, include the stairwell in the past.
Providence Place Fall – Report Suspected Abuse and Neglect
As an attorney who practices in the area of elder abuse and neglect primarily in nursing homes and other types of elder care facilities, I have handled numerous cases where falls have lead to serious permanent injury or frequently in the death of the resident. Unlike many types of accidents, falls are often preventable with adequate and trained staff providing proper care and monitoring. Even if the actual fall event is an accident many facilities fail to take the necessary required steps to protect the interests of the vulnerable adult, by not adequately responding to the fall event.
Frequently falls result in the breaking of a bone, many times at the level of a joint such as in the hip or knee. The injury may result in the resident becoming bedridden or confined to a wheelchair for rehabilitative care. The loss in ambulation can then lead to many other risk factors such as bed sores from the pressure of laying on the same area for extended periods of time, and loss of muscle strength, leading to additional falls. Fall injuries can also lead to death months after the incident from complications such as pneumonia.
Avoiding falls is very important and should be one of the primary focuses in the nursing home. To protect the residents the nursing home should be frequently monitoring the resident to determine the risks for falling and taking interventions to reduce the change of a fall incident. The effectiveness of the interventions should be evaluated to ensure the effectiveness of safety interventions and if they need to be modified. This is especially important if there is any sudden change in a resident’s ability to function physically and changes with the cognitive or behavior status of the resident. These changes could be due to an underlying medical condition which needs to be addressed, or problems with medication or numerous other issues. Assessments needed to be performed by a qualified RN nurse, not lower level nursing staff, who should instead be making observations, and reporting their finding to those qualified to inact appropriate safety measures.
Providence Place Fall Prevention – Federal Regulations
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987), also known as the Nursing Home Reform Act, specifies that a nursing home “must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care…”
To participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must be in compliance with the federal requirements for long term care facilities as prescribed in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR Part 483).
Under the regulations, the nursing home must:
• Have sufficient nursing staff. (42 CFR §483.30)
• Conduct initially a comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity. (42 CFR §483.20)
• Develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident. (42 CFR §483.20)
- Ensure that the resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents. (42 CFR §483.25).
This website is not intended to provide legal advice as each situation is different and specific factual information must be obtained before an attorney is able to assess the legal questions relevant to your situation.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please call Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member. To contact Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore, directly please send an email to Klabore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com or call Ken at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589.