Nursing Home Fined More Than $100,000 After Resident Falls, Dies

A nursing home has been hit with the most severe citation – and the maximum fine of $100,000 – in connection with a patient who died from a preventable fall, state health regulators said.

The patient, who was not identified, was recovering from hip surgery at the facility.

He was admitted to the facility in April for physical therapy, and he fell twice there within 24 hours between May 9 and 10.

After the first fall, the nursing home staff put an alarm on the patient's gown. Despite the alarm, no staff member responded when the patient got out of bed and walked into the hallway.

The wall in that area lacked a handrail, so when the man began stumbling, he grabbed a large mechanical device used to lift residents out of bed.

He fell and pulled the equipment down to the floor with him, and his head hit the metal frame of the lift, according to a report by the state Department of Public Health. The patient was hospitalized and died May 13 from the blunt-force trauma.

Seven nursing home employees said the lift was supposed to be kept in a shower room and not the hallway. Even after the man's death, a state health investigator found the lift still stored in the same hallway location.

β€œThe facility's decision to store a large piece of equipment which is easily overturned in the hallway could and did pose a hazard to patients,” the state report said.

The same nursing home also was fined $16,000 because it failed to closely monitor a patient who wandered away from the facility three times within nine hours last month. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia. 

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