Fall With Injury at St Anthony Health Center
According to a Star and Tribune article dated February 11, 2010, a St Anthony Health Center resident was injured when she fell from her bed moments after a nursing assistant left the woman’s side with various safety precautions not in place, and the woman’s condition worsened until her death four days later.
Apparently, state health investigators cited the unnamed aide for neglect. The fall occurred Oct. 7 at St. Anthony Health Center, causing a hematoma on the woman’s forehead, the Department of Health investigative report said. Soon after she fell, the woman was “very drowsy” with weakness in her limbs, followed by unresponsiveness and difficulty breathing.
With “significant physical status changes,” according to the report, the woman was admitted to hospice care and died Oct. 11th. The nursing assistant was suspended one day after the woman fell and fired the day after the resident died, having admitted the neglect, according to the news report.
Apparently, the aide was caring for the woman when another resident’s sensor alarm beeped. The employee left the woman unattended and “without her safety precautions in place” to care for the other resident. A nurse found the woman on the floor in her room. At the time the woman fell, according to the report, the resident’s sensor alarm was not set, the bed was not in the lowered position and a floor mat was not next to the bed. All were required precautions outlined in the woman’s care plan.
More Information About St Anthony Health Center Fall
For the rest of the story, An aide left the resident without the ordered safety precautions just before she fell.
According to an article from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
The cost of falls among older people is enormous because of the high death toll, disabling conditions and recovery in hospitals and rehabilitation institutions. The United States spends more than $20 billion annually for the treatment of injuries to older people after falls. The majority of the cost is for hip fracture care, which averaged $37,000 per patient in 2006. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that by the year 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion (in 2007 dollars).
Thirty percent of people over the age of 65 will fall each year. In 2006, about 1.8 million people 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls, and more than 433,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
Ninety percent of the 380,000 hip fractures treated annually in the United States occur as a result of a fall.
In 2006, there were more than 380,000 hip fractures, or about 1,050 hip fractures a day.
Approximately 25% of hip fracture patients will make a full recovery; 40% will require nursing home admission; 50% will be dependent upon a cane or a walker; and 20% will die in one year.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that a total of 15,802 persons aged 65 years and older died as a result of injuries from falls in 2005.
As an attorney that handles abuse and neglect cases most forms of neglect are preventable situations, including falls. Often the underlying reason for the falls and resulting serious injuries to elderly nursing home residents is a lack of adequately trained and supervised staff. Many times the nusing home attempts to reduce costs by replacing highly training RN nursing staff with less trained and lower paid LPNs. There is a controversy presently on this issue with the Minnesota Board of Nursing considering a position that would broaden the scope of the duties a LPN can perform. This will undoubtedly result in an increase in the number of cases of injuries due to abuse and neglect of elderly nursing home residents. It is necessary to have staff with sufficient experience and training to know what to look for in monitoring and assessing a resident to make sure they stay save.
Many times the LPNs are also either working as the only nurse on duty or may even be the supervising nurse. Presently, a LPN should not be doing assessments but rather only taking vital signs and making observations to be interpreted by a more skilled RN, Nurse Practitioner or Doctor. The LPN nurse does not have the authority to change Care Plans for residents and is not trained to identify warning signs registered nurses are familiar with.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ONLY RNs be ALLOWED To Make Assessments, the most vulnerable population of citizens will be affected by a change that allows LPNs to make assessments in an attempt to control costs. It is not a bargain if the under-skilled LPN costs the life of a resident, through improper training and being placed into a position which requires qualifications they do not possess.
Many times the resident is confused due to medication they are taking, or the onset of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is the nursing home’s duty to ensure the resident is adequately monitored by qualified staff to ensure their safety. Many times there are not enough staff members to respond to all the care needs of the residents and to monitor the safety alarms in place to protect residents from falls.
St Anthony Health Center – Report Suspected Elder Abuse and Neglect
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 contact our firm 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.