According to data recently published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), there are approximately 16,100 nursing homes with nearly 1.7 million beds with an occupancy rate of 86% or nearly 1.5 million resident patients in the U.S.
Nursing home patients deserve the best in quality of care, including access to safe and reliable medical equipment and devices. This includes oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, defibrillators, mechanical lifts, specialty beds, wheelchairs, shower chairs, walkers, canes and other devices. Unfortunately, when malfunctioning equipment and devices are allowed to exist in a nursing home facility, the lives and well being of their resident patients are endangered.
Nursing home medical equipment and device malfunctions are preventable. Nursing homes may be found negligent and liable for equipment malfunctions that result in personal injuries or wrongful death to its residents for failure to implement or abide to industry standard equipment maintenance and record keeping protocols.
Common causes or contributors that can lead to nursing home equipment malfunction can include:
- Failure to perform equipment safety checks;
- Failure to document equipment safety checks;
- Failure to purchase an equipment service contract;
- Failure to retain and read manufacturer's equipment manual;
- Failure to develop preventive maintenance schedules for each medical device;
- Failure to provide administrators with copies of maintenance schedules in order to schedule service appointments without interruption;
- Failure to develop a checklist in order to perform visual safety inspections;
- Failure to keep and hold monthly log of inspections performed by date, time and name of person performing inspection with comments and results attached;
- Failure to properly train staff in usage of all medical devices;
- Failure of owners, operators, administrators or staff to alert maintenance personnel of equipment malfunctions, problems or concerns;
- Failure to remove dangerous, broken or malfunctioning medical equipment and devices from nursing home premises until deemed safe by proper authorities;
- Failure to report deaths, serious illnesses, and injuries from any medical equipment or device as per the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990.
Common injuries that can be sustained due to the nursing home malfunction equipment can include:
- Brain Damage,
- Organ Damage,
- Organ Failure,