Research Study Finds Seniors With Bedsores at Increased Risk of Death in Illinois, Nationwide

A common sign of nursing home abuse in Illinois and nationwide is the presence of bedsores on a resident. Bedsores are pressure ulcers normally caused by remaining in the same position for too long. With proper care, nursing home and other long-term care facility residents should not suffer from bedsores. Research that was recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrates that pressure ulcers can signal much more than patient abuse. The study, led by Dr. Courtney Lyder, Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles, reportedly found that bedsores are also associated with increased hospitalization and patient death.

The study analyzed the impact of bedsores acquired in hospitals on more than 51,000 randomly chosen Medicare patients nationwide. The research study, which utilized data taken directly from patient medical records created in 2006 and 2007, was reported to be the first of its kind. Investigators found that seniors and other patients who acquired bedsores during their hospital visit had longer hospital stays, were more likely to die during their stay, and were more likely to be readmitted within one month of being discharged.

According to Dr. Lyder, the research study demonstrated that bedsores acquired in hospitals were a direct risk factor in patient death. Dr. Lyder stated patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and others are at the highest risk for developing bedsores when placed in a medical care setting. He also reportedly believes hospitals and other care facilities have a responsibility to identify patients who are at an increased risk for pressure ulcers upon admission. Dr. Lyder said such information should be utilized to prevent patient bedsores before they have the opportunity to develop.

Researchers stated they chose to use Medicare claim data because the national surveillance system was designed to identify adverse events such as pressure ulcers among hospitalized Medicare patients. Such data was analyzed to determine the pattern and cause of patient bedsores. According to the research, about 4.5 percent of patients evaluated acquired bedsores during their hospital stay. Additionally, a 16.7 percent of patients who entered the hospital with a pressure ulcer acquired another one during their stay.

Bedsores can have life-threatening consequences for not only hospital patients, but also nursing home residents. The recently published study found that bedsores most commonly began on a patient’s tailbone, hip, buttocks, and heels. Reasonable standards of care demand that such areas be closely monitored by nursing home and other long-term care facility staff. Steps should always be taken to lower the risk of pressure ulcers and treat them appropriately if they do develop.

Most Illinois nursing homes are held to a high standard of care under both federal law and Illinois state law. Facilities that receive funds from Medicaid and Medicare programs are required to follow federal regulations, and are considered “certified” facilities. Most nursing homes in Illinois are certified, and therefore governed by federal regulations.

Illinois state law, under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, does not require nursing homes to be certified, but requires all nursing homes to be licensed. The Illinois Department of Public Health regulates standards of care for all nursing homes in the state.

Federal standards require that nursing homes maintain the same level of health that the resident had when entering the facility, and if the resident’s condition worsens, that the facility work to restore the resident to their original condition. Studies such as the one discussed above show the importance of requiring nursing homes to adhere to the required standard of care. Neglect of a nursing home resident that leads to the development of bedsores can have irreversible consequences.

If you believe your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact the hardworking attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. Our experienced Chicago area nursing home abuse lawyers are available 24 hours a day to help you protect the rights of your loved ones. For a free consultation with a capable Illinois attorney, please call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596. You may also contact us through our website.

More Blogs:

A Prescription for Abuse in Chicago Nursing Homes: Too Many Medicated Residents, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2012
Malnutrition a Concern in Chicago Nursing Homes, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, September 10, 2012
Additional Resources:

UCLA-led study finds direct correlation between hospital bedsores, patient mortality, by Laura Perry, UCLA Newsroom

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