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Nursing Home Death Spurs Calls to Change Lift Procedures

Many Illinois nursing home accidents involve patient have severe mobility problems. For these particularly vulnerable residents it is a challenge just to move from a bed to a wheelchair. To aid in this process many facilities use slings to lift patients from the bed to the traveling device. This procedure can be risky, as any mistakes could lead to the resident falling. It is not an exaggeration to say that for some seniors a nursing home fall could be fatal.

A tragic story explained by the Calgary Herald yesterday emphasizes the consequences of these nursing home actions and the potential changes needed to improve safety. An 89-year old resident at a senior center was being transferred from his bed to a wheelchair using a device known as a LIKO Universal Sling. The device has two “loops”: one was meant to be used in the transfer and the other was a “faux loop” only created when the straps are crossed over one another.

Unfortunately, the man’s caregivers attached the sling to the “faux loop” which was not designed to hold a patient’s weight. At one point during the transfer the stitching on the loop gave way and the man crashed to the floor. The senior’s injuries from the fall were severe and he died a week later.

In an inquiry following the incident a judge explained that “the most obvious way of preventing deaths in similar circumstances is through educating staff member about the proper way to use the LIKO sling.” In addition a recommendation was made to modify the sling design to eliminate the dangerous loop.

Our Illinois nursing home lawyers known that safety in these and similar matters involves both proper design of equipment and proper use of that equipment by caregivers. Each of these preventable accidents are tragic and steps must be taken to ensure that lessons are learned from the tragedy.

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