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Articles Tagged with chicago nursing home abuse

Whether the doctor who gives a second opinion calls them bed sores, pressures sores, decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, this painful condition is often a sign of nursing home neglect. When somebody – for example, a bedridden patient in a nursing home — lies too long in the same position, the pressure in areas of contact can restrict or eliminate blood flow. This leaves the skin in that area irritated and open to infection. Left untreated, open sores develop as the tissue begins to die without blood.

Responsible facilities observe professional practices for the prevention and early treatment of bed sores in nursing home cases. These include:

  • Changing patient position frequently and regularly, to prevent the pressure sores from forming.
  • Avoid the use of physical or chemical restraints when possible, to minimize time spent in one position.
  • Daily skin assessments by staff trained to spot early warning signs of decubitus ulcers.
  • Use of the Braden Scale, or a similar professional metric, to assess the risk an individual has of developing pressure ulcers.
  • Proper handling of patients while moving or exercising a patient, or performing physical therapy.

When nursing homes fail to carry out these precautions, areas of red and irritated skin form at the areas of restricted blood flow. This can lead to blisters, open sores, oozing wounds, bleeding, deep-tissue infection and complications including sepsis and gangrene. Because of the medical fragility of those at the greatest risk of pressure ulcers, these complications can – and often do – become fatal.

Bed sore death is entirely preventable, but common enough that it is a commonly recognized sign of nursing home neglect. Families who have lost a loved one due to pressure sore complications, or seen that patient suffer pain from decubitus ulcer symptoms, have the right to file a bed sore lawsuit and hold the facility responsible for their neglect.

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.

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.