Many residents in nursing homes lack the ability to ambulate. Many nursing homes have changed their names to indicate that they are “rehabilitative facilities,” and one of the primary forms of rehabilitative medicine is physical therapy. Lots of individuals are admitted for short-term stays in order to receive therapy.
Those persons are not considered the long-term care patients that we traditionally see in a nursing home setting, though many transition into a long-term stay patient. Many methods are used by nursing home staff to assist patients with ambulation or to transfer patients who cannot ambulate into and out of their beds, showers, and the like. A very common method of transfer is a Hoyer® lift. Hoyer® is a brand name, but it is the common name used for these types of lifts.
The Hoyer® lifts come in a variety of forms – some have slings to completely lift patients; some are designed to lift patients to a standing position; and some are used to help patients who are completely bedbound be moved from point to point. The manufacturer and federal standards require that nursing home personnel who use these lifts be properly trained in the method of using them. State and federal standards also require periodic inspection of the equipment to ensure that it is properly functioning and is safe to use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that the use of mechanical lifts reduced the number of back injuries among health care workers by as much as 35 percent. The CDC has also been involved in a number of studies regarding the benefits of the use of mechanical lifts in the health care settings, especially in rehab and nursing home settings.
Despite these requirements, far too many incidents arise where patients are injured by the improper use of these types of equipment, either because of the application of the equipment or because of a failure in the equipment. Lawyers in our firm have investigated incidents where bolts were not properly tightened and the sling came loose or broke loose, resulting in the fall of a patient. Our firm has also investigated incidents where the personnel using the mechanical lifts have pinned a patient’s legs between the edge of a structure, such as a bed, and the lift itself, resulting in breaks to the legs and to the skin.
Because of the benefits of mechanical lifts, both to caregivers and to patients, continued utilization of the lifts can be expected in nursing home settings. However, it is imperative that nursing homes ensure that their staff is adequately trained on the use of lifts, not only in the application of the lifts but in being patient and gentle with often frail and aged patients. If you need more information, contact Ben Locklar, a lawyer in our firm how handles Nursing Home Litigation, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Ben.Locklar@beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.