Tractor trailer accidents on Massachusetts Turnpike in West Springfield close lanes

Two tractor trailer accidents on either side of the Massachusetts Turnpike has partly closed the highway and slowed traffic near Exit 4.

“We are telling people to use extreme caution,”Massachusetts State Police Sgt. George Hamilton said.

Freezing rain is continuing throughout Western Massachusetts Sunday evening causing accidents on a wide variety of roads throughout the area.

The accidents on the Massachusetts Turnpike happened at about 6:45 p.m. One truck traveling eastbound crashed on the icy roads in the high speed lane. That lane is expected to be closed for some time and motorists are advised to slow down and use caution in the right lane, Hamilton said.

The second accident happened at about the same time in the westbound lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike. It also occurred in the high speed lane and the two other lanes are open for traffic, he said.

Neither driver is believed to have been seriously injured in the accidents.

The speed on the Turnpike has been reduced to 40 miles an hour because of the icy conditions, Hamilton said.

There have also been multiple reports of cars spinning off the road in other locations on the Turnpike, he said.

Police in other communities have been reporting multiple accidents in the evening.

In Springfield there have been a number of accidents but no major injuries, Police Lt. Brian Keenan said.

“It is very slippery and icy on the hills,” he said. “People need to slow down.”

Holyoke Police closed Bemis Road following an accident caused by icy conditions. There have also been problems on Lower Westfield Road near Ingleside and Cabot Street was closed because of ice, Sgt. Brian Chirgwin said.


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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6 days ago  ·  

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