An Illinois nursing home resident was seriously burned in a smoking accident at the facility. One of the resident’s diagnoses was dementia which had worsened in the months before the fire. Staff members from the nursing home were aware that he was smoking unsupervised in his room, but there was no care plan in place to address dangers associated with his smoking. In fact, a member of the housekeeping staff used to go to the store to purchase cigarettes and lighters for him.
The resident dropped the cigarette while he was smoking and left it, still lit, on his chest until his shirt caught fire. He suffered extensive second and third degree burns.
Smoking requires careful supervision in a nursing home setting. Residents suffering from confusion or dementia can cause accidental fires through careless handling of smoking materials. Smoking materials also are partuicularly hazardous around oxygen equipment frequently found in nursing homes.
Nursing homes need to have in place and enforce amoking supervision policies for smokers in their facilities in order to prevent accidental injury to both the smoker and other resdients of the facility.