According to CNHI News Indiana, the resident, who had one leg, was taken to the shower by a staff member in March 2017 and left to stand on her single leg with no assistance. Nursing home staffers reportedly found her some time later on the shower floor, her leg twisted and in agony. She was diagnosed with a displaced spiral fracture of the femur, although initially, staffers decided to place her back into bed before calling 911. Her family alleges the staffers told dispatchers they did not witness the fall, but they later filed false documentation indicating they had seen the fall, which occurred because she let go of her wheelchair. She underwent surgery two days later, remained in a debilitated state for months, and then died in June 2017. That incident reportedly marked her 16th fall at the facility since she entered it two years earlier. A wrongful death lawsuit alleges her passing was a direct and proximate result of nursing home staffers’ actions and inaction, and further that state health department citations for violations of federal quality-of-care regulations are evidence of callous disregard for patient rights, safety, welfare, and dignity.
Indiana nursing home falls are a serious problem affecting elderly and disabled residents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,800 older adults in nursing homes die annually from fall-related injuries. Those who do survive often suffer hip fractures and head injuries that lead to serious and permanent disabilities.