After a survey conducted in February, 2013 at Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center, a Brooklyn, NY nursing home, the Department of Health issued a report finding actual harm to a resident. Actual harm is the second most severe rating grade that the DOH issues in its citations, surpassed only by Immediate Jeopardy. The Department found that actual harm had been sustained by one of its sampled residents.
In its report, the Health Department details a lack of education provided to the 82 year old male resident's "private companion." The nursing home failed to inform the companion that only nursing home staff was properly trained and authorized to transfer the resident. As a result, during an instance in which the companion attempted to transfer the man on her own, he sustained a fall resulting in a fractured hip. Although hired by the resident or the resident's family to provide assistance, facility protocol dictates that a private companion is not authorized to transfer the resident. The resident fell and was injured during an attempt to assist him to the bathroom.
In subsequent interviews, the health aide stated that she had, on prior occasions, aided the resident with toileting. The facility, however, did not make it clear to her that she was not authorized to do so while the man was a resident of the nursing home. The Director of Nursing confirmed this. She stated that while it was facility policy to educate and orient health aides as to facility policy, such was not done in this case. Further evidence of this is lack of a record that the private companion signed the nursing home's "Private Hire Companion Agreement Form." In the form, the facility itself mandates that this type of aide is not allowed to assist in resident transfers.
A fractured hip can be deadly for an elderly nursing home resident. In addition to the immediate physical impact that a fracture has, the long term effects can be devastating. Inability to ambulate can lead to decreased physical and mental capacity, pressure sores and infections, even potentially death. Had the nursing home relayed information on its own policies and procedures to the private companion, perhaps this fall and subsequent fracture may have been avoided. The DOH report does not give an update on the resident's condition except that after the fall he was transferred to the hospital for treatment of the fracture.
The Department of Health report can be found on its website here.
If you or a loved one has fallen due to the negligence of a nursing home, please contact the New York Nursing Home Attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan to protect your rights.