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Nursing home residents are often limited in their mobility, and rely on the care and assistance of nursing home staff. One of the most common types of assistive aids in nursing homes is a Hoyer lift. Hoyer lifts are mechanical devices that lift and move nursing home residents. However, improper use often results in significant injuries. Hoyer lift injuries can result in trauma to the resident’s body and mind.
The Hoyer lift is comprised of a sling-type seat that holds the individual, and a mechanical frame that swivels and has wheels for easy transfer of the resident. While such devices are designed to aid the safety and mobility of elderly persons, negligent use of these types of devices can result in catastrophic injuries. How do nursing homes falls happen when using a Hoyer lift? When a Hoyer lift is used properly, it can be a very helpful piece of equipment. However, when not use correctly the Hoyer lift can be dangerous to residents. The simplest explanation for how Hoyer lift injuries occur is nursing home neglect. Even though there are protocols in place on how to safely transfer of patient from one location to another these procedures are often times ignored because the staff member is in a rush, inexperienced, has become complacent or simply does not care. This leads to dropped patients which results in serious injuries and decreased life expectancy.
It is important to remember that dropped patients require assistance for reasons; often times they are frail or bedridden. If you consider the additional elevation at the time of the fall and the fact that their weakened condition can make it impossible for them to break their fall, you can understand why dropping elderly nursing home patients results in terrible injuries. Some common injuries include fractured or shattered bones, traumatic brain injuries and even fatalities.
Falls among nursing home residents often result in a decreased quality of life, long-term illness or rehabilitation, isolation from loved ones in social activities, depression and additional injuries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies regularly provide nursing home staff with guidelines for safe lifting and movement of patients and residents to avoid Hoyer lift injuries. The CDC recommends that nursing homes provide all staff members with appropriate training on lifting and moving residents. Staff members who are not properly trained, or who failed to follow proper safety guidelines contribute to the injury of patients and residents. Falls and drop injuries and nursing homes are a prevalent cause of injury and death among nursing home residents.
Most Hoyer lift injuries are preventable. The leading cause of Hoyer lift injuries is negligence on the part of the nursing home staff. One example how these drop/fall Hoyer lift injuries happen includes improper maintenance of the Hoyer lift. The device can become defective resulting injury to nursing home patients. Often Hoyer lift injuries are caused by inadequate staffing. Some Hoyer lift models require two people to safely transport residents. Nursing home staff should never attempt to use these lifts on their own. Improper placement of the sling and strap can also result in Hoyer lift injuries. A staff member should receive adequate training to learn how to properly attach the sling as well as how to properly seat a resident in the sling. Improperly seating or assembling the Hoyer lift can result in horrific Hoyer lift injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a nursing home drop or fall, call The O’Keefe Firm at 937-643-0600 for a free consultation.