Hoyer Lift Transfer Injuries
We have all heard the horror stories of nursing home neglect. When we put our family members and loved ones in nursing homes, it is often because we believe they deserve a level of care and attention that we are unable to give them. Fall accidents are among the most common reasons for injury within nursing homes. The CDC has indicated that larger facilities report 100-200 falls annually, and as many as 20% of these falls require medical attention. You are entrusting a nursing home with the wellbeing of someone close to you, and injuries resulting from the facility’s carelessness ought to be punished.
One of the most common injuries in nursing homes are fall injuries from mechanical lifts, commonly known as a Hoyer lift. The purpose of lifts is largely to prevent the injury of medical workers caused by manually lifting residents and overexerting themselves. Unfortunately, this has the effect of shifting risk from a trained and physically able medical provider, to a more fragile and elderly nursing home resident. The lift suspends the patient in a swing and allows them to be transported from one place to another. They are mainly used to transport patients short distances, such as from their bed to a nearby chair. These lifts are often less secure and more accident-prone than ceiling lifts.
Injuries often occur as a result of improper use of the lift. The effect is catastrophic injuries, including decreased life expectancy, fractured bones, brain injuries, and sometimes fatalities. The emotional effects of these injuries are also worrisome including isolation from loved ones and nursing home social activities to allow time for recovery, and depression. While most of these accidents are just that- accidents- they are for the most part avoidable. The FDA requires that staff receive training before operating a lift. Prior to putting a patient in the lift, they must check a patient’s condition, select their sling size, prepare the environment to eliminate any obstacles, prepare the equipment, and perform a safety check. Inspection and maintenance of the lift must be routine and include following a maintenance safety checklist to detect parts that need replacement. Common causes of the injuries include improper maintenance, improper training, improper sling or strap placement, and improper seating position. Furthermore, some of these lifts require a minimum of two healthcare workers to operate, and inadequate staffing leads to cutting corners when operating the lift. There have been recent efforts by the American Nursing Association to spread awareness of these problems and mitigate them. Unfortunately, many of their new programs have yet to be implemented, and these types of injuries remain common.
Nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents and use necessary medical equipment safely. After injuries take place, nursing homes have a duty to investigate the event and the lift used, to report the event to the Department of Health or the police, and to preserve evidence of the event. If nursing home staff was negligent when operating a Hoyer Lift and this resulted in injury, the nursing home may be liable. Nobody should cut corners when it depends on the wellbeing of a patient. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of negligent use of a Hoyer Lift, you should gather all possible evidence of the event and consult one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.
Altman & Altman LLP has helped many nursing home neglect victims and their families recover compensation for their injuries. To schedule your free consultation with Altman & Altman LLP, call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free), or contact us online. We are available 24/7 to support you through your personal injury suit.