Limited mobility is a prevalent concern for seniors as they experience a rapid decline in their ability to move of their own power due to medical conditions and the weakening of their bones and muscles over time. The vast majority of nursing home falls occur due to some form of mobility issue and it is important that nursing center caregivers take care when assisting patients that have been deemed high risk for falls. One of the tools that can be used to help move patients is the Hoyer Lift, but when used improperly, it can also result in serious injuries.
What is a Hoyer Lift?
The Hoyer Lift is a portable device that helps nursing staff transport patients between two locations within a relatively short distance of each other. Examples would include helping a patient from a bed into a chair, from a chair onto a toilet or as a means to help a patient into the bath. Its portability makes it a versatile tool, but it is not as safe as a ceiling lift. It is extremely important that any patient being transported in one of these lifts is under supervision the entire time.
It may require the assistance of two people to properly transport a patient using a Hoyer Lift, which uses a sling to support the patient as the device lifts him or her into the air before the caregivers move him or her to the intended destination. Lack of proper supervision or training for the safe operation of Hoyer Lifts are cited as common reasons for nursing home falls.
The Most Common Causes of Hoyer Lift Falls
When used properly, the Hoyer Lift can be an extremely useful device, but the irresponsible use of the device or disregard for regular maintenance or inspection can prove disastrous. Some of the different causes of Hoyer Lift falls can include the following.
- Understaffing of nursing facilities. The indirect result of understaffing is that staff members are overworked and often forced to perform tasks on their own that require assistance. When a patient needs to be moved and another staff member is not available, caregivers may attempt to use the device by themselves, which can result in a fall.
- Leaving patients unattended. It is beyond irresponsible to leave a patient unsupervised when still strapped into the Hoyer Lift, but other pressing concerns may lure the staff member away, further exhibiting the impact of poor staffing policies.
- Lack of training or improper training instructions. Many Hoyer Lift accidents result because the staff members simply don’t understand how to use the device in the correct manner. The patient needs to be seated in a very specific way and secured by the straps of the lift. Expecting staff members with little or no training on the proper way to use any equipment is a recipe for disaster.
- Poor maintenance practices. All machines need to be maintained on a regular basis to ensure efficient and safe operation. The sling and straps can also fray over time and ignoring the need for maintenance can result in the straps breaking while bearing the patient’s weight.
Alarming Fall Data
If your loved one is receiving care from a nursing home, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the fall prevention measures being taken. The CDC has reported that in facilities with 100 or more beds, there are 100-200 annually reported fall events. When the number of falls seems to correlate to the total number of beds, there is a serious need for contemplation.
The CDC also estimates that three out of four nursing patients will fall every single year and as many as 20% of the falls will result in injuries that require medical attention. 1,800 patients lose their lives due to injuries suffered in falls on a yearly basis.
The nature of Hoyer Lift falls can increase the chance that patients will suffer serious trauma. In addition to the risk of fractures, the patient may strike his or her head and experience a traumatic brain injury which could have a long lasting impact on cognitive function. The location of the accident can influence the type of injuries that result as well.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is committed to providing award winning legal services to everyone who has suffered harm due to the reckless actions of others. Our Chicago nursing injury lawyers specialize in nursing law and have successfully secured compensation on behalf of thousands of people just like you. If your loved one has been injured in a fall, we are here to help you find the answers you seek and the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys to learn more about your legal options and how we can help ensure you have the greatest chance of securing damages. Our lawyers are committed to serving the needs of all who require our services, which is why we work on a contingency basis and refuse to demand payment for our services unless we have been able to recover money on your behalf.