Recent Close Call Brings Attention to Wheelchair Safety on Vans

By Courtney Burris |

Published 11/19 2013 06:48PM

Updated 11/19 2013 07:13PM

A recent incident involving a nursing home van has brought attention to wheelchair safety. 

Last Friday, a nursing home van driver slammed on brakes to avoid an accident. When he slammed on brakes, the two passengers on board flew out of their chairs and onto the floor of the van. 

Both passengers received minor injuries and are back at the nursing home at this time.

A separate nursing entity, Northern Oaks Living and Rehabilitation, takes extra precaution when it comes to securing resident's wheelchairs. Northern Oaks' Plant Manager, James Thomas, explains the process that he teaches the van drivers. His best advice for avoiding an incident of that nature is for the driver to take their time.

While it is not a law in all circumstances for wheelchair passengers to wear a shoulder belt and a lap belt, Northern Oaks requires this of their residents.

CityLink transports around 350 people on their paratransit service daily, and according to CityLink Genera Manager, Ben Herr, around half of those people are disabled.

Coronado Nursing Home, the facility involved in Friday's accident released a statement to KRBC stating:

Upon becoming aware of a traffic incident involving our facility van that happened last Friday, we immediately began a thorough investigation that is ongoing to learn not only what happened in this case, but also how to avoid any possible similar occurrences in the future.  One finding of the initial investigation is that not all of our internal patient transport procedures were followed in this case, and we have taken steps to resolve that matter.  Our initial findings also indicate that other procedures were followed, including appropriate checks of driving. We are also continuing with our own training for all of our staff members who help transport patients in order to ensure their safety. As a matter of routine procedure, we do check the driving records of our van drivers. Most importantly, we are pleased that the residents in the van when this situation happened are fine and back in our center. Because we are still investigating this matter, additional comment at this time would be inappropriate.

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