Hoyer Lift Injuries and Nursing Home Falls/Drops
Nursing home residents are often limited in their mobility, and rely on the care and assistance of family and nursing home staff. One of the most common assistive aids in nursing homes are Hoyer lifts, which are mechanical devices that lift and move nursing home residents. 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 residents. The individual is then lifted for easy transfer from one location to another. While such devices are designed to aid the safety and mobility of elderly persons, negligent use of these devices can result in catastrophic consequences.
Nursing Home Fall/Drop Information
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies regularly provide healthcare providers and nursing home staff with guidelines for safe lifting and movement of patients and residents. Along with legal and ethical standards, the CDC and others recommend that nursing homes provide all staff members with appropriate training on lifting and moving residents. Staff members who are not properly trained, or who fail to follow proper safety guidelines may themselves be injured, or may contribute to the injury of the patient or resident. Falls and drop injuries in nursing homes are a prevalent cause of injury and death among nursing home residents. In fact, the CDC offers the following statistics:
- Annually, there are 100-200 falls reported in nursing homes with 100 beds
- The CDC estimates that annually, as many as three-quarters of nursing home residents suffer a fall
- Approximately 35 percent of nursing home falls occur among residents who are unable to walk
- Around 1,800 nursing home residents die every year from falls
- Between 10-20 percent of nursing home fall reports include serious injuries, with as many as six percent including fractures
Falls among nursing home residents often result in a decreased quality of life, long-term illness or rehabilitation, isolation from loved ones and social activities, depression, and additional injuries. Falls in nursing homes are such a common occurrence, that there is a great significance placed on proper use of lift devices and other assistive aids used by nursing home staff.
Hoyer Lift Injuries and Other Causes of Falls
In addition to the overall health condition of nursing home residents, the CDC reports that there are several regular conditions that contribute to nursing home fall injuries and death. Among the most common conditions are:
- Mobility: Mobility is one of the leading causes of nursing home falls. Transportation of residents and improper use of walking or assistive aids are considered significant risks to patients.
- Improper Training: Improper training of nursing home staff is among the most dangerous factors contributing to nursing home injuries. When nursing home staff fail to follow proper procedures when using Hoyer lifts and other mechanical devices, the resident is at extreme risk for injury.
- Environmental Hazards: It is estimated that environmental hazards contribute to as many as 27 percent of resident falls
- Maintenance: Poorly maintained mechanical devices, wheelchairs, beds, wet floors, etc. are all considered risk factors causing falls
More Information on Hoyer Lift Injuries
Hoyer lift injuries are a serious concern for families with a loved one in a nursing home. Unfortunately, most Hoyer lift injuries are preventable, and the leading cause of these injuries is negligence on the part of nursing home staff. Other factors include:
- Improper Maintenance: If the Hoyer lift is not properly maintained, the device can become defective, resulting in breakage and possible injury
- 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 Sling and Strap Use: Staff members should receive adequate training to learn how to properly attach the sling, as well as how to properly seat a resident in the sling. Improper seating or assembly can result in catastrophic accidents and injuries.
Nursing homes are required to provide residents with a legally and ethically appropriate standard of care, including a safe environment and properly trained staff. When injuries occur to residents due to the negligence of a staff member, the nursing home is liable.