Our Chicago nursing home lawyers appreciate that bed sores are one of the “staple” wounds of elder neglect. As we often explain to local residents, these sores are almost always preventable and result from direct service caregivers failing to abide by applicable standards of care when providing daily services to seniors.
The Mayo Clinic website on bed sores provides a good overview of the injury, its causes, and prevention. As explained, bed sores are often referred to as “pressure sores” or “pressure ulcers.” Essentially the injury is damage to the skin and underlying tissues as a result of constant pressure of bone. That is why the sores usually develop on “bony prominences,” like the heel, hips, ankles, and buttocks.
Immobility is a common risk factor. Individuals who are unable to move on their own are more likely to be unable to reposition themselves to relieve the pressure on certain parts of their body. That is why it may be a sign of nursing home neglect when caregivers fail to help these residents reposition themselves to relieve the pressure and help eliminate the risk of developing the sores.
Certain Homes More at Risk
Unfortunately, each Illinois nursing home neglect attorney at our firm is well aware that not all long-term care facilities are created equal. Some home prioritize proper treatment at all times, while others only do the bare minimum (sometimes less) with the focus on maximizing profits for owners and operators. It likely comes as no surprise that those facilities that care more about profits often score worse on measurements of preventable injury, like pressure sores.
For example, a recent story from New York World explained how facilities in that city often have pressure sore development rates 50% higher than the national average. The article shared the story of one resident who developed the sores-soon to lead to even more complications.
The 84-year old woman developed multiple sores on her lower back after she moved into the facility. She entered the facility-like many residents-directly from a hospital after suffering a medical setback.
Within six months at the facility, the woman developed the pressure sores which in turn led to other health complications. She eventually suffered sepsis, and was fighting malnourishment and dehydration. The problems took a serious toll on the fragile senior and she passed away about 7 months after entering the home.
The woman’s adult daughter filed a nursing home neglect lawsuit against the facility, claiming that they did not provide the woman the care to which she was entitled. The daughter soon learned that the facility in question had a history of providing substandard care. In addition, the daughter was shocked to learn that the facility received a grant that same year for tens of thousands of dollars in order to lower the incidence of pressure sores. Yet, the grant notwithstanding, the facility’s own records submitted to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that the rate of pressure sores increased in recent years.
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