Unfortunately, injuries are a part of life and also occur in nursing homes where we place loved ones to be safe if they can no longer live or care for themselves. One of these unfortunate injuries that can occur is falling out of a wheelchair.
Allowing a nursing home resident to sit comfortably in their wheelchair in a hall or perhaps in an outdoor area of the facility seems perfectly harmless. However, even this seemingly harmless act of sitting in a wheelchair requires nursing home employees to take steps to ensure the safety of these residents. Too often nursing home employees take for granted that wheelchair patients’ limited mobility does not put them at an increased risk for falls and collisions with their surroundings at the facility, but this can open the nursing home to neglect or abuse.
What Are The Duties Of A Nursing Home When A Patient Is In A Wheelchair?
Putting a patient in a wheelchair does not relieve the nursing home staff of their duty to provide ongoing supervision. The nursing home staff should be available to assist the resident when needed and make sure they are properly strapped into the wheelchair. Depending on the patients physical and mental capacities, they should provide a level of supervision appropriate to the individual. In most cases, providing a safe environment for wheelchair patients includes:
1) Making sure locks on the wheels are engaged when the patient is sitting in one area or is incapable of appreciating harm;
2) Parking wheelchairs in areas where the ground is level to prevent uncontrolled rolling;
3) Keeping patients in a wheelchair away from congested areas to prevent pushing or bumping that could cause a fall:
4) Properly utilizing leg braces to make sure they do not have the patients legs in a manner where they could catch on things; and
5) Keeping patients away from fall hazards and unguarded stairways
Wheelchair patients are allowed freedoms, but it remains the responsibility of the nursing home staff to supervise them and assure that the wheelchair use does not put them at a heightened risk of harm to themselves or others.
How Do Wheelchair Injuries Occur In A Nursing Home?
Wheelchair injuries can also occur when a nursing home resident is transferred out of his or her bed into a wheelchair or vice versa. Likewise, the resident may need to be transferred from a wheelchair to a toilet or shower stall. If the nursing home staff is not careful during this process, the resident may fall and suffer serious injuries as a result.
A fall from a wheelchair can result in fractures, such as broken legs, knees, arms or collarbones. It can also result in serious head injuries, bruises and abrasions and in truly tragic cases, even death.
A nursing home can only be held liable for damages if it is found that the staff neglected to follow the proper procedures that the duty of care sets. The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling nursing home claims. If you or a loved one has been injured from falling out of a wheel chair at a nursing home, the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call at 215-525-6824.