Should Nursing Home Residents Fall During Transfer with A Lift?

Many elderly nursing home residents cannot move without assistance; thus, Hoyer Lifts (also referred to as mechanical lifts) are routinely used when transitioning patients. When appropriately used, mechanical lifts can be a safe and effective way to transfer disabled residents without injuring staff. However, negligent care providers and facilities often cut corners, resulting in devastating and sometimes life-threatening fall injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) estimates that one in four adults age 65 or older report falling each year, resulting in about 1,800 nursing home deaths annually.[1] Prevention of falls, including those during the transfer of a patient, begins with a proper resident assessment to identify specific risk factors that exacerbate the likelihood of a dangerous slip and fall, such as previous falls, physical weakness, or recent transfers. Senior living facilities are responsible for recognizing and assessing these risk factors and implementing plans to prevent such occurrences. Even when individualized care plans are utilized, however, residents are still commonly injured when negligent facilities are understaffed or fail to implement proper lift safety protocols.

If your parent or a loved one was injured during a mechanical lift transfer, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Michigan nursing home fall attorney. We can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously fight for accountability and compensation. At Olsman MacKenzie Peacock and Wallace, we represent injured nursing home residents and their families on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we are only entitled to a fee if we secure compensation.

How Do Mechanical Lift Injuries Occur?

Mechanical lift injuries frequently happen when:

  • A lift malfunctions due to improper inspection, repair, or maintenance. Nursing home staff must inspect slings for tears and forgo using equipment that has any indication of wear.
  • Staff does not comply with standard operating procedures. Most lifts require two or more staff to operate a lift and safely assist a patient. If a nursing home does not have enough staff on duty, it could be liable for any resulting lift injuries.
  • Caregivers use the wrong type of sling for a patient or lift. Slings come in a variety of sizes; thus, it is critical to ensure that the equipment being utilized is not too small or large for the patient and that it is compatible with the lift apparatus.
  • Staff fails to secure sling loops. When the loops of a sling are not secured to a lift, a resident can easily fall, causing severe injuries.
  • Staff fails to properly position a resident. Failing to properly position a resident in a sling can result in an individual becoming unstable and unsupported, resulting in a debilitating fall.
  • Nursing home personnel fails to perform safety checks. Before repositioning a resident, hooks, loops, and straps must be inspected to ensure they are securely fastened.
  • Staff fails to clear surrounding spaces. Mechanical lifts require space to turn freely; thus, it is vital for caregivers to make sure that the floor and space around a lift are clear from obstructions.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur After a Mechanical Lift Fall?

One out of five falls cause serious injuries, including broken bones (e.g., wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures), spinal cord injuries, and traumatic head injuries, which can quickly become fatal.[2]

Many individuals also experience psychological trauma that impacts their quality of life. For example, elderly residents often become afraid of falling, which may cause them to cut down on performing everyday activities. When an elderly individual is less active, their body can atrophy, making them weaker and increasing the chance of future falls, hospitalizations, and premature death.

Am I Entitled to Compensation For Injuries Suffered in a Nursing Home Lift Accident?

When a lift injury arises that would not have occurred but for a nursing home staff’s failure to exercise the proper level of care, the senior care facility can be held liable for any harm that results, including for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Economic and noneconomic losses

If a fall results in a wrongful death, a victim’s family may also be entitled to damages for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Hospital expenses
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent

If your loved one died as a result of the negligent actions or inaction of a nursing home, it is vital to speak to a Michigan wrongful death attorney to discuss the challenging legal issues that apply to these cases. We invite you to call our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights. 

How Can Nursing Homes Prevent Lift Falls?

Fall prevention in nursing homes requires a multi-faceted approach that includes:

  • Initial and regular assessment to identify patient fall risks
  • Individualized care plans to address each patient’s risk factors
  • Medication management
  • Ensuring mobility aids like wheelchairs and lifts are safe
  • Ensuring transfers can be completed safely with sufficient staff and proper equipment
  • Ensuring staff is properly trained on lift and fall prevention protocols

Michigan nursing homes must develop an individualized plan for each resident and provide care, devices, and services as needed to mitigate risk factors. Nursing homes can be held liable for a patient’s fall if they fail to follow the care plan or their negligence led to the injuries.

Schedule A Free Consultation with Olsman MacKenzie Peacock and Wallace | Michigan Nursing Home Fall Lawyers

Was your parent or loved one injured in a nursing home lift fall? Filing a lawsuit for negligence can help you recover financial compensation to ensure your loved one receives appropriate care while holding the senior living facility accountable.

At Olsman MacKenzie Peacock and Wallace, our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys specialize in cases involving elder abuse and nursing home negligence. We can tenaciously fight to protect your loved one, investigate their fall, and build a compelling case against a negligent care provider. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to learn about your options for seeking justice and maximum compensation. We represent nursing home victims and their families on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that we are only entitled to a fee if we secure compensation.

[1] Facts About Falls, CDC,

[2] Facts About Falls, CDC,