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Articles Tagged with bedsores

Although some professionals argue restraints are necessary to prevent injury in some patients, a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study estimates as many as 150 deaths annually from improper use of physical and chemical restraints.

This kind of abuse might be nursing home negligence, or outright and intentional harm. In either case, a nursing home lawyer can help identify those responsible and bring them to justice for their actions.

In nursing homes that overuse restraint, the cause is frequently understaffing at the facility. Overworked nursing home staffers lack the time to properly oversee every patient, and can suffer from a condition called compassion fatigue that leads them to abuse or neglect those in their care.

Improper restraint is especially common among patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, since their erratic behavior can endanger themselves and others – but all populations in nursing facilities are at risk.

Some signs that your family member might be being restrained improperly include:

  • Incident reports justifying the restraint that are unspecific, or list behavior nobody outside the facility has ever seen.
  • Discovering a family member has been restrained from the family member, rather than from a prompt report by facility staff.
  • Changes in medication, to include adding common chemical restraints such as Lorzepam, Mellaril, Risperdal or Xanax.
  • No reduction, or plan to reduce, the use of restraints over time.
  • Bedsores resulting from remaining stationary for too long.
  • Abrasions or bruises, especially at the ankles, wrists and waist.

Since 2000, Chicago nursing home abuse – including improper use of restraints – has increased at a rate of nearly 4 percent per year. Attention and vigilance by family members is the most effective way to reduce that rate, and to bring those responsible to justice.

Nursing home negligence and abuse affect 30 percent of care facilities nationwide, and cause as many as 5,000 deaths annually. Although this means the statistics favor appropriate care, the pain of abuse is very real for its victims.

Abuse and neglect happen for a variety of reasons. Some are the fault of a facility, while others have an individual staffer to blame. Regardless of why it happens, it’s important to stay vigilant for signs that your family might be suffering abuse or neglect.

1. Inadequate Background Checks

Studies have found that 92 percent of nursing homes employ at least one convicted criminal. Ask management about their backgrounding process. If they can’t discuss it in depth, their background methods may be insufficient.

2. Personality Changes

Although some personality changes are expected in cases like dementia or Alzheimer’s, sudden changes often point to more dangerous causes.

3. Unusual/Inconsistent Diagnosis

If staff reports behavior or other problems your family has never observed, this might be a sign of worsening condition – or an attempt to justify overbilling or use of restraint.

4. Changes in Weight

Rapid weight loss or weight gain often indicates a change in food or medication regimens. Unless you were notified, this can point to neglectful or abusive treatment.

5. Bedsores

These seemingly minor injuries are a tell-tale sign of nursing home staff not doing their jobs. Proper staffing and attention can almost always prevent them.

6. Injuries

As bodies become older, they get more susceptible to injury – but read injury reports carefully for signs of improper care or outright violence. Be especially suspicious of injuries suffered after an elopement or other behavior problem.

7. Dehydration and Malnutrition

Both are signs that adequate sustenance isn’t being provided, or that staff isn’t making certain a patient is eating and drinking enough to be healthy. Like bedsores, this condition is 100 percent preventable with adequate staffing and care.

In Chicago, nursing home abuse is about as common as the nation as a whole. Filing a lawsuit against neglectful or abusive care facilities is one of the most effective ways to hold abusers accountable for their actions.