Bedsores are a common sign of Chicago nursing home neglect and an often misunderstood medical condition that can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Our Illinois nursing home attorneys continue to monitor moves by the state and federal legislature and the nursing home industry as it relates to staffing levels and the supervision and care of state nursing home residents.
In July, Abels & Annes announced a $300,000 settlement on a case the firm served as co-counsel with another law firm against a Chicago nursing home, where an elderly developed bed sores after not receiving the proper care. Her son had become concerned about her treatment and the facility had received several complaints about the development of bedsores due to the resident being left immobile.
Staff was instructed to inspect the patient’s heels on a weekly basis after blanchable redness was detected, commonly the first sign of developing bedsores. The home failed to properly monitor her condition, failed to care and treat the sores and failed to timely seek additional medical care once sores developed.
The truth of the matter is that bedsores are not unavoidable, even with elderly, infirm or immobile patients. Inadequate care, soiled linens and poor hygiene can exacerbate a patient’s condition.
Left untreated, bedsores and pressure ulcers can lead to disfigurement and even death.
Stage I: blanching, change in skin sensation, temperature or firmness. Uncared for, the condition worsens quickly.
Stage II: Sore, blister or abrasion forms. Bedsores or pressure ulcers become harder to treat if allowed to progress.
Stage III: Deep craters form, resulting in substantial skin loss.
Stage IV: Sore may involve bone or muscle and resembles a deep wound.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 10 percent of nursing home patients — nearly 160,000 residents nationwide — suffered from pressure ulcers, with Stage II ulcers being the most common. The same study found as many as one-third of all nursing homes had patients with bedsores.
New nursing home residents were also more likely to develop bedsores, compared to those who had resided at a home for 12 months or longer.
The National Institutes of Health reports bedsore neglect often leads to a worsening of the condition by stages and can ultimately be life threatening. Primary treatment is release of pressure, which for wheelchair bound patients can lead to bed rest, which in turn presents it’s own risk factor for bedsores.
Infection may result, including sepsis, which can result in organ failure. And surgery to repair Stage IV ulcers may be complicated by bone infection.
Proper daily patient care can prevent bedsores from forming. And early medical treatment can reduce severity and prevent medical complications. There is no reason nursing home residents should be made to suffer with advanced bedsores.
If you are concerned about neglect or abuse at an Illinois nursing home, contact Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 855-LAW-CHICAGO. There is no fee unless you win.
Chicago Nursing home lawyers reach $300,000 settlement, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, July 5, 2012.