When elderly adults reach the point that they need live in a full-time residential care facility, their health and well-being can easily be put at risk by improper care or monitoring. Although many Illinois nursing homes have well-trained staff who are responsive to the needs of their patients, the news is full of stories about nursing home residents who have been seriously injured or even died because staff are untrained, overworked, neglectful, or abusive.
One early sign that nursing home abuse or neglect may be present is the appearance of bedsores. Fortunately, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act guarantees nursing home patients a basic standard of care, and there are legal remedies available to take action if patients are being treated poorly.
What Are Bed Sores?
Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers, are injuries that happen when someone has been lying in the same position for too long. A person’s body weight puts pressure on the areas where the body comes into contact with a bed or wheelchair, cutting off circulation and causing sores to develop. Generally, sores first appear on a patient’s elbows, buttocks, back, or legs, and sores begin to worsen in gradual stages.
First, the bed sores will appear almost as if the area has suffered a rugburn. The skin can be raw, swollen, itchy, shiny, and red. If a body is not moved, the skin can break open, causing painful open sores that are highly susceptible to infection. As time goes on, the sores worsen, causing damage to many layers of skin cells. The worst bed sores can reach all the way to muscles, tendons, and even bone.
How Can Improper Restraint Cause Bed Sores?
Unfortunately, nursing homes often lack properly trained staff. When residents pose a risk of wandering or other difficult behaviors, staff will sometimes restrain a resident to prevent them from moving around freely. This is both illegal and dangerous.
Improper restraint may happen through physical restraints, such as bed ties; chemical restraints, such as continuous doses of sedatives; or verbal threats and physical punishment. If your loved one begins displaying signs of bed sores, is suddenly nonresponsive when you visit, or appears unusually intimidated or nervous, this may be a red flag that something more serious is going on.
Call a Will County Nursing Home Injury Lawyer Today
When bedsores appear on a vulnerable resident at an Illinois nursing home, they can be an urgent sign that something is seriously wrong. To learn more about your options for taking action, schedule a free consultation with the Joliet, IL nursing home injury attorneys at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC today. Your loved one deserves to be treated with care and respect, and if a nursing home is responsible for causing unnecessary harm, the staff and institution deserve to be held responsible. Call us at 815-727-0100.