Wound care is an important part of the duties assigned to nursing home staff and an essential service provided to the elderly residents. Wounds become much more common as individuals age due to the slowing regenerative process. As a result, many elderly individuals with even the slightest of injuries will eventually sustain a major wound. In addition, skin may degenerate on its own, even without the presence of an injury. As such, it’s incredibly important that nursing home staff members care for aging individuals with developing wounds, properly and promptly.
Nursing home abuse can occur when the caregivers that the residents rely so heavily on are negligent in their work, resulting in injury or even death. Overall, there should be no excuse for nursing home residents to have bedsores that go beyond simple pain or discomfort, or wounds that are not swiftly taken care of. If there are any signs of open bedsores or other wounds, this may mean that there may be serious negligent care by the nursing home facility.
Below are a few examples of wounds that elderly patients may experience at the hands of a negligent staff member:
- Bedsores/decubitis ulcers – these are caused by unrelieved skin pressure, such as sitting or lying in the same spot for extended periods of time without movement. Untreated, ulcers can quickly advance through the body of an aging person, resulting in more serious medical conditions.
- Post-operative wounds – after a surgery, incisions must be monitored and treated so that no infections arise.
- Scrapes, cuts and skin tears – accidental injuries can happen, but when not treated, can result in infections, pain, bleeding or swelling.
- Burns – Without adequate treatment, a burn can result in necrosis, infection, pain and fever.
Nursing homes must follow established protocol and provide care that comports with the Nursing Home Care Act of Illinois (210 ILCS 45/ Nursing Home Care Act.) These protocols include evaluating new residents for risk of developing bedsores, regularly examining a resident’s body for the presence of bedsores, developing care plans to avoid bedsores, and delivering healthcare that meets an individual’s needs.
If you believe that your loved one’s health has been progressively worsening due to bedsores, ulcers, scrapes, wounds, or any other form of nursing home abuse, please contact the attorneys at Lipkin & Higgins.