A Westchester County, NY nursing home, Nathan Miller Center for Nursing Care, received a fine from the federal government in the amount of $45,565.00 as a result of findings in a November 24, 2008 inspection. The purpose of the call bell system is to alert staff members to respond to residents who require assistance and/or are experiencing a medical emergency. During the inspection, the surveyors found that the existing resident call bell systems on both the first and second floors were not functioning properly.
When they questioned different staff members, the surveyors received inconsistent responses regarding how long the problem had persisted. For example, a maintenance worker stated that the call bell system had been malfunctioning for a day or so, while a nurse’s aide indicated that the call bell system had not been working for “over a month.” In addition, the facility did not implement a contingency plan to compensate for the lack of a working call bell system.
The surveyors also interviewed residents of the facility. The residents indicated that they do not receive assistance when they use their respective call bells. One resident explained that he must “scream out for help” in order to get help. The surveyors cited the facility for placing its residents in “immediate jeopardy” for harm.
A malfunctioning call bell system could very easily cause residents to fall and/or suffer fractures. It is common for nursing home residents who are in need of the restroom to use the call bell for assistance. When no staff member responds, these residents who require assistance to walk are forced to try to get the bathroom on their own. The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan have successfully represented many residents who suffer falls under these circumstances. If you or a loved one has fallen in a nursing home, please contact us.