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Illinois nursing home neglect injury attorneysMany nursing home residents have physical and/or mental disabilities which limit their mobility. Residents who are not able to move themselves or who spend long periods of time in a wheelchair or bed are especially prone to getting decubitus ulcers, more commonly called bed sores. These sores are also referred to as “pressure ulcers” because the painful wounds are caused by extensive pressure to one or more body parts.

Nursing home residents who have limited mobility must rely on nursing home staff to help them prevent bed sores. When a resident is frequently developing bed sores, it may be a sign that nursing home staff are not providing the care the resident needs and deserves.

Pressure Ulcers Can Quickly Become a Serious Medical Condition

When a person with normal mobility is lying in their bed or sitting in a chair, they are able to relieve pressure on their body by getting up and moving around or changing positions. Sadly, many nursing home residents do not have this ability. They may not have the physical strength to move themselves or they may suffer from a cognitive condition which prevents them from understanding that they should occasionally reposition themselves. Pressure ulcers are not only extremely painful, they can also develop into a dangerous or even deadly medical condition. Untreated bed sores can quickly become infected and lead to cellulitis, sepsis, or even death.

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Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysDecubitus ulcers, also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers, form when a person spends long periods of time in the same position. Bed sores most often occur in individuals who are immobile due to illness or disability. Nursing home staff should take precautions to prevent bed sores in residents by regularly repositioning them and immediately treating sores if they occur. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as one out of ten residents in nursing homes suffer from bed sores at any given time. If your loved one has suffered from bed sores in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, it may be a sign of neglect.

Preventing Bed Sores in Elderly and Disabled Individuals

Caretakers should take steps to prevent bed sores before they start. If your loved one cannot move himself or herself, you will have to help regularly reposition them. It may be helpful to position the person at a 30-degree angle to reduce pressure on their hips. Caretakers who look after disabled or elderly individuals should also make sure to inspect their skin for signs that bed sores are forming. Malnutrition can be a cause of bed sores as well. Nursing home residents who do not receive enough calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals in their diets may suffer from bed sores in addition to other aliments caused by lack of nutrition.

Areas of the Body on Which Bed Sores Commonly Occur

Bed sores are a major concern for people confined to a wheelchair or bed. For nursing home residents who must use a wheelchair all or most of the day, the most common areas for bed sores to form include the:

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Chicago nursing home abuse lawyersDecubitus ulcers, also known as bed sores, pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or pressure wounds are a painful, sometimes life-threatening medical condition which is sadly common in elderly or disabled individuals. Many residents living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities struggle with bed sores due to mobility problems. In fact, studies show that one in five nursing home residents have experienced pressure ulcer symptoms at some point in their stay.

Bed Sores Are Caused by Long Periods of Inertness

Pressure ulcers can be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect because they are often caused by residents being left alone for long periods of time. Pressure ulcers are injuries caused by persistent pressure or friction on a person’s body. When a non-disabled person lays in bed, he or she is able to move around and find a comfortable position. When a person is immobilized by physical or cognitive disability, they cannot relieve pressure that builds up on certain body parts. Pressure ulcers commonly form on a person’s buttocks, back, backs of arms and legs, head, elbows, hips, ankles, and heels. Pressure ulcers do not form spontaneously but instead grow in severity over time. In addition to being tremendously painful, untreated pressure ulcers can lead to infection, sepsis, cellulitis, and even death.

Understaffing Can Cause Some Residents to Be Neglected

It is no secret that many long-term care facilities and nursing homes are distressingly understaffed. These institutions simply do not have the resources necessary to care for residents in the way they deserve to be cared for. Furthermore, nursing home staff are often under-educated regarding healthcare practices and lack proper training on how to prevent and treat bed sores. Immobile residents in a nursing home should be frequently monitored and repositioned in order to prevent pressure ulcers from forming.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneyWhen you place a loved one under the care of a nursing home, you expect that they will be treated with the care and dignity they deserve. You probably understand that a nursing facility may be more institutional than “homey,” but such facilities are designed to give patients around the clock access to medical care and personalized attention. Unfortunately, nursing home residents face a variety of dangers—some related to their own health conditions and some that may be caused by negligence on the part of the staff. For residents who are bedridden or wheelchair bound, bed sores are among the most common nursing home injuries, and many are the result of substandard care.

What Are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. These injuries are areas of skin that become inflamed due to pressure on the skin that prevents normal blood flow. If not addressed, the inflammation can transform into blisters and eventually open sores. In the most serious cases, the ulcers can continue to worsen and expose underlying muscle and bone.

Pressure ulcers are especially common among patients who are confined to bed or a chair and unable to move themselves easily. Friction caused by contact with clothing or bedsheets and moisture from sweat or urine can accelerate the development of bed sores. Patients with more fragile skin and those with circulatory problems are at a particularly high risk. Bed sores can form on any part of the body, but they are most frequently found on the parts of the body that remain in contact with a bed, including heels, elbows, shoulders, hips, and tailbones.

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