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Unreported Issues in Nursing Homes

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Unreported Issues in Nursing Homes

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Malman Law, take nursing home abuse and neglect seriously. The amount of abuse and neglect that occurs in nursing homes may be shocking to the general public. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 10 residents in nursing homes had pressure ulcers in 2004. Unreported or underreported skin breakdown, malnutrition and dehydration can result in death or significant disability. In fact, the National Quality Forum listed any stage 3, stage 4, or unstageable pressure ulcers as a “Never Event,” meaning that they should never occur.

Sadly, skin breakdown, malnutrition and dehydration occur too often in nursing homes, which is why you should contact a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as you are aware of inadequate facility care. In 2012, an elderly resident passed away due to a bone infection from untreated wounds. The resident was admitted to a rehabilitation center for sub acute rehabilitation post surgery. Due to the previous health record, the resident was confirmed to be at a high risk for skin breakdown. At admission to the rehabilitation center, the staff missed the chance to educate the resident about smoking and the importance of repositioning due to surgery.

Unreported and underreported wounds, malnutrition and dehydration were all factors in the resident’s case.  As the resident’s wounds began to worsen, nurses still did not inform the treatment nurse or physician about the change in the condition. The wound ultimately turned into a Stage 4 Ulcer, resulting in Sepsis Syndrome and Osteomyelitis (bone infection caused by bacteria or germs). The resident was sadly moved to hospice to pass away peacefully. The case of skin breakdown, malnutrition and dehydration are cases that nursing home abuse attorneys fight over and over again for residents, patients and their families all around the United States; yet, it is categorized as a “Never Event.”

Guide to Understanding Skin Breakdown, Malnutrition and Dehydration

What are Pressure Ulcers?

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel [NPUAP] describes Stage 3 Pressure Ulcers as “full thickness skin loss” while “bone, tendon or muscle are not exposed” and a stage 4 ulcer as “full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle.” Additional names for this type of skin condition include skin breakdown, bedsores and decubitus, or lying down ulcers.

Where do Pressure Ulcers Form?

Pressure ulcers are more apt to form on bony areas of the body. Patient sites that are most vulnerable to pressure ulcers depend on the position that the patient spends most of their time. The most vulnerable areas include: shoulder blades, buttocks, heels, balls of feet, ankles, knees, hip area, shoulders and ears.

How do malnutrition and dehydration factor into Skin Breakdown?

When the body is dehydrated and malnourished, it reduces the body’s natural cushioning to protect itself from bedsores.

Preventing Pressure Ulcers:

The NPUAP states that facilities should always practice thorough risk assessment, frequent skin care and bathing, individualized nutrition plans, utilize mechanical loading and support surfaces, and should always thoroughly educate their residents and patients.

If you or a loved one has been affected by nursing home neglect or abuse contact an Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse attorney today.  Attorneys at Malman Law, are available 24/7 for information and a free consultation. Call (312) 629-0099 or visit www.malmanlaw.com. Malman Law is located at 205 W. Randolph Street, Suite 610, Chicago, IL 60606.

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