West Metro, Minneapolis, Minnesota—83-year-old Bernice Martens died recently after being dropped several times when her caretaker tried to transport her from her car to her wheelchair and back. Ms. Martens’ care plan called for the use of a transfer belt, and her caregiver never used it during the times she was dropped.
The night following her falls, Ms. Martens complained of pain to another of her caretakers who promptly noticed a six-inch bruise spanning from her arm pit to her waist. Two days later, Ms. Martens complained of pain constantly. She was admitted to a hospital the next day with a massive hematoma, and she died only a week later from aspiration pneumonitis.
Ms. Martens’ family was beside themselves with grief, unable to process why something so tragic had happened to a woman who’d been in very good health prior to the falls.
As it turns out, the company, Senior Helpers, who had hired Ms. Martens’ caretaker had never performed a background check on the caretaker until after her release. If they had done so before hiring her as was Minnesota statute, they would have found out that the caretaker was never qualified to work directly with clients.
Senior Helpers’ owner, Mike Johnson, extended his sincerest apologies to Ms. Martens’ family and continued by saying, “This is an isolated incident, and we have a well established reputation of excellence serving this community. We thoroughly trained our caregiver, and unfortunately this person did not follow procedure.”
Despite Senior Helpers’ assurances to the public, the state faulted the company for failing to follow Martens’ care plan, conduct a background study or report the incidents to a nurse. The company is now in compliance with state laws according to Stella French, director of the Office of Health Facility Complaints.
You can read more about Ms. Martens here.