Nebraska health officials sanction CHI Health St. Elizabeth after patient dies from fall

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The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services sanctioned CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln, Neb., after a patient death last November that resulted from injuries sustained during a fall from a bed, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The state HHS department sent a notice to the hospital in March notifying officials of impending disciplinary action against the facility for its failure to protect the patient last November and at least 40 of 109 other patients who were at risk for injury or death from falls, according to the report.

The department initiated an investigation into the hospital in January after an unidentified patient fell from their bed in November 2017, dislocating a hip and suffering a head injury that resulted in bleeding in their brain. The patient reportedly died 10 days after the injury.

The department's investigation included an inspection of hospital records and interviews with staff. In the March notice sent to CHI Health St. Elizabeth, the department placed the hospital on probation for one year, issued a fine of $10,000 and required officials to file a report every two weeks detailing how the hospital was conducting its protocols on fall prevention and patient intervention.

The department's report found nurses had not been trained to activate bed exit alarms for five types of beds used at the facility by patients at high risk for falls. Staff interviews also showed some nurses had been working in patient care units they did not normally work in and did not effectively communicate information during handoffs of patient care, among other patient intervention techniques that were not in place or were used inconsistently, according to the report.

The hospital reportedly reached a settlement with the state HHS department in May, reducing the institution's probation to six months and eliminating the $10,000 fine. Both parties approved the settlement June 5, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

CHI Health St. Elizabeth President Derek Vance said in an emailed statement to the publication the hospital was saddened by the death of the patient.

"St. Elizabeth is committed to providing high-quality, reliable patient care. We took immediate action to address the alleged deficiencies," he said.

Mr. Vance also noted the state HHS department conducted a follow-up inspection and found the hospital in compliance with requirements related to patient safety.

To access the full report, click here.

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