Residents in a nursing home may have physical and mental disabilities that make them dependent on nursing home staff for help with daily living tasks like showering, eating, and taking medication. Some residents may also have significantly reduced mobility. They may be unable to get in and out of bed on their own or need help changing positions in their bed or wheelchair. Staying in one position for too long puts pressure on the skin and can cause painful bedsores. If a resident is experiencing frequent bedsores or bedsores that are not properly addressed, this may be a sign that he or she is suffering from nursing home neglect.
Causes and Treatment of Bedsores
Bedridden or immobile nursing home residents are very susceptible to bedsores. Also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, bedsores are caused by unrelenting pressure that cuts off circulation to the skin. Bedsores can be very painful and may lead to serious infections or even sepsis. Nursing home staff must periodically reposition residents so that a body area does not receive long periods of pressure. If a bedsore does develop, staff should ensure that the wound is kept clean and protected by gauze or other appropriate dressings. The staff should carefully monitor the resident for signs that the bedsore is worsening or has become infected. In some cases, the wound may require debridement, skin grafts, or other major medical intervention.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA) protects the rights of individuals living in nursing homes. The act asserts that nursing home residents have all of the rights that any other individual would have under state and federal law. It also gives residents the right to be free from physical and chemical restraints except under very specific circumstances, the right to manage their own financial affairs, the right to privacy, and many other rights. Most importantly, nursing home residents have the right to be free from neglect and abuse. The NHCA states that an owner and licensee are liable for any negligent or intentional act or failure to act that injures a resident. When nursing home staff fail to provide reasonable care to residents and the resident is injured or killed as a result, the nursing home may be legally responsible for the harm caused. The injured resident or his or her family may be entitled to damages. They may receive compensation for medical expenses caused by the injury, pain and suffering, and more....