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Improper Fatal Transfer

Published on November 21st, 2019

Boston 25 News has provided details surrounding the death of a nursing home resident at the Lutheran Rehabilitation and Skilled Care in September.  According to the Department of Public Health’s report obtained by Boston 25 News, a resident was dropped from a mechanical lift while being taken out of bed in September.  DPH says the resident died at the hospital the next day.  This is why it is required and standard to have two people assist when using a mechanical lift.

The resident suffered a subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood build up outside the brain, cervical spinal fractures, a pneumothorax, a condition where air leaks into the space in between the lungs and chest, two left rib fractures and a spinal fracture.

According to the report, the certified nursing assistant responsible tried to cover up the incident.

She only told fellow staff members and emergency workers they had just bumped the resident’s head on a metal bar.

The hospital didn’t find out about what had really happened until several hours after the resident had been dropped.

Alison Weingartner and Arlene Germaine, who work for the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform said they were mortified after reading about the Department of Public Health’s findings regarding the patient’s death.

“It is horrifying it’s totally unnecessary that this happened,” said Germaine. “It’s horrifying all the way around.”

The department issued a list of things to look out for when choosing a nursing home for your loved ones:

Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one is an important decision, and there are several factors to consider when evaluating a facility. Both DPH and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) have made resources available online to help with decisions about nursing home care.

  • The Guide to Nursing Home Care brochure provides information, tips, and resources to help answer questions about long-term skilled nursing care.
  • The Long-Term Care Ombudsman is an advocate working to resolve problems related to the health, welfare, and rights of individuals living in nursing or rest homes. Ombudsman representatives are regularly onsite at nursing homes and can provide valuable insight when choosing a nursing home for a loved one. To connect with your local ombudsman, call (800) 243-4636 (800-AGE-INFO) or find their contact information online.
  • The Options Counseling Program, funded through EOEA, provides free, unbiased information and support to older adults, family caregivers and people living with disabilities. An Options Counselor can connect MA residents to resources and helps them make decisions related to long-term services and supports based on their specific needs.
  • There are a number of options for long-term services and supports, including assisted living, in-home care, adult day health programs and nursing facilities. To request an Options Counseling session near you, call (800) 243-4636 (800-AGE-INFO).
  • DPH’s Nursing Home Survey Performance Tool and the CMS Nursing Home Compare website are tools that allow consumers to compare certified facilities in their area and determine the facility that will best meet your or your loved one’s needs.
  • There is no substitute for visiting a nursing home. DPH encourages individuals to contact the facility to schedule an appointment for an informational meeting and tour. Prepare questions that can help in the selection process, and ask for a copy of the facility’s brochure, admissions policies, and resident bill of rights.
  • If a resident, their representative, or their family members have concerns about the care they receive while in a long-term care facility, they may contact the facility’s Long Term Care Ombudsman to provide assistance or they may file a complaint with DPH by calling (800) 462-5540.
Joe Pioletti
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