Holbrook pedestrian struck on sidewalk along Route 37

HOLBROOK — A distracted driver veered onto a sidewalk and struck a 22-year-old Holbrook man, throwing him about 20 feet and causing life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

“He was just minding his own business, walking down the sidewalk,” Holbrook Fire Lt. Donald Austin said of the victim, whose name was not released. “The operator of the car apparently got distracted and went up on the sidewalk (and struck him).”

“He got hit, he apparently bounced off the windshield of the car, and he was thrown up about 20 feet into the yard,” he said.

The accident occurred near 188 North Franklin St. (Route 37), about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Police did not release the driver’s name.

The victim was flown by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he underwent surgery. His condition was not known on Sunday. Firefighters did not release his name, citing federal medical privacy laws.

Police had said earlier in the day the victim was struck while crossing the street. But Austin, who responded to the scene, said the victim was walking on a sidewalk, not crossing the street, when he was struck.

Austin said the victim was struck and thrown about 20 feet into the yard of a residence. He was found in the yard, lying on his back underneath a tree.

When emergency crews arrived, the victim was “in and out of consciousness,” Austin said.

“We called for availability of MedFlight, realizing he needed to go to a trauma center,” Austin said.

State police responded to investigate. The MedFlight helicopter left from Sumner Field on South Franklin Street.

Holbrook police officer Danny Ford is investigating.


Nursing Home Negligence

Falls in Nursing Homes

Litigators who work with cases involving long term care know how significant the issue of falls can be. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over 65. Approximately half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the U.S. fall each year, and a report by the Office of the Inspector General found that about 10% of Medicare skilled nursing residents experience a fall resulting in significant injury; and, more than 1/3 of hospital falls result in injury. In the rehab setting, rates are often higher – for example, fall rates among stroke patients have been shown to be very high. Immobility and falls can lead to poor outcomes.

Fear of falling is defined as a geriatric syndrome. It not only occurs in older adults who have fallen, but in those with impaired mobility and is associated with decreased physical ability and depression. Care of older adults requires that clinicians be aware of the myriad of issues related to falls including knowledge of this syndrome, increased risk and interventions needed to prevent injury related to falls.

Just about every resident in a long term care setting, including assisted living and sub-acute rehab, is at risk for falling. Between medications, functional and medical issues and advancing age, older adults in most settings are prone to falling.

There are well established standards of care related to fall prevention; but, as I continue to review records related to issues like falls, I am amazed at how often these basic standards are not being practiced. The basics of a fall prevention program include assessment and ongoing reassessment of risk, ensuring a safe environment, medication review, providing therapy as needed, individualized interventions, and staff education.

Basic nursing practice includes assessment, planning (Care plan), putting interventions in place and then evaluating outcomes to determine if those interventions are appropriate and effective. Assessment includes completing fall risk assessments on admission and then as needed. Very often, the fall risk assessments completed by nurses in LTC are inaccurate. The tools utilized in long term care typically include these risk factors: history of falling, use of ambulatory aids, gait/balance issues, medications, secondary diagnoses (i.e. diabetes) and mental status. Care planning is the next step in nursing care - it is the standard of care that as the resident’s status changes, assessments and care plans must be updated, and often, are not. For example, with each fall, there should be updates, or if there is a new diagnosis, i.e. stroke, or worsening dementia, updated interventions should be put into place, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

Care planning and interventions very often are generic and not individualized. For example, a toileting schedule that includes only after meals and before bedtime may not be appropriate. If a resident has issues with constipation or incontinence, this may lead to the need for more frequent toileting to prevent falls. The “make certain call bell is within reach” for residents with dementia is an example of a generic intervention. Older adults with dementia may not recognize a call bell or remember to use it. The debate about use of bed and chair alarms go on – they are a part of an individualized care plan, not a solution to preventing falls. Often, I see delays in putting interventions in place, i.e. with the resident who is incontinent NOT being put on a toileting plan immediately. The other common issue I see when reviewing records is the lack of updating care plans as the resident’s status changes – with every fall, with worsening dementia, physical decline, or new medical diagnosis (i.e. Parkinsonism).

Nurses reviewing records need to pay attention to the MDS, risk assessments, care plans and Interdisciplinary notes with attention to where the standard of care is not being met.
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