Our Top Rated Chicago Bed Sore Lawyer Can Help Your Family Get Justice for a Pressure Ulcer Injury
Learn how Illinois law protects the elderly and vulnerable from bedsores. At Senior Justice Law Firm, bed sore litigation is the focus of our firm.
Speak with a qualified and experienced Chicago bed sore lawyer now: 773-739-8250.
Chicago Bed Sore Lawyers
Bed sores are serious medical conditions that are often the result of negligent elder care in hospitals and nursing homes. If your loved one has developed bed sores in a Chicago nursing home, then you deserve to know the cause of the injury and whether neglect or abuse played a role. And if mistreatment was involved, you and your loved one are entitled to justice. Senior Justice Law Firm specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorney is here to help you get the bed sore answers you need.
Our Chicago bed sore lawyers represent victims and their families against local nursing homes that have failed to protect their residents from unnecessary bed sore injuries. We are devoted to holding nursing homes accountable and achieving justice for elderly victims in cases of negligence and abuse.
Legal Assistance for Victims of Bed Sore Injuries in Chicago
At Senior Justice Law Firm, we understand how powerless you may feel upon discovering your loved one has suffered from bed sores while in the care of a nursing home in the Chicago area. Our experienced team has seen how devastating bed sores can be for victims and their families, and we know that finding proper treatment and determining the cause of the injury can feel overwhelming. You do not have to go through this experience alone.
We can help you find the care your loved one needs, support the investigation into what caused their bed sores, and assist with determining whether their nursing home or caregiver may be at fault.
Protect your elderly loved one and get the justice your family deserves. Contact us today for your free Chicago bed sore lawyer case consultation.
What are Bed Sores and How Do They Develop?
Bed sores—also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers—are ulcers that impact the skin and its underlying tissue. They are caused by prolonged pressure on the skin or repeated friction against a particular part of the body.
Bed sores tend to develop in the elderly when they spend a lot of time lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or are otherwise immobile, unconscious, or unable to feel pain. While they can emerge anywhere on the body, bed sores are often found on bony areas with relatively thin skin.
For bedridden individuals, bed sores are often found on:
- The back or sides of the head
- The shoulder blades
- The hip, lower back, or tailbone
- The heels, ankles, and in backs of knees
For those in wheelchairs, bed sores are more common on:
- The tailbone or buttocks
- The shoulder blades and spine
- The backs of arms and legs where the skin is rested against the chair
In the elderly, bed sores can develop very quickly. A lack of blood flow to a particular area of the body for just a few hours can result in a sore that may lead to life-threatening complications if it does not receive proper medical attention.
Are Bed Sores an Inevitable Experience for Nursing Home Residents?
To protect themselves from liability, nursing homes may tell you that your loved one’s bed sores were unpreventable. But despite what nursing home staff may say, bed sores are a red flag for inadequate care, and they are rarely inevitable. Be wary of anyone affiliated with a nursing home making claims to the contrary. Only an independent third-party medical expert can make a proper assessment as to whether a particular bed sore injury was avoidable. Investigations into to the root causes of bed sore injuries routinely find that nursing homes are at fault. Educating yourself on bed sore prevention is therefore essential to ensure that your loved one does not become a victim.
How Can Bed Sores Be Prevented?
When your loved one is admitted into a nursing home, medical staff should create a care plan that addresses all of your loved one’s needs. Bed sore prevention should be a key aspect of this plan, and any factors that may increase your loved one’s risk for developing bed sores must be considered. For example, if your loved one has limited mobility then the care plan should include directions to provide them with repositioning every two hours. If your loved is afflicted with diabetes, dementia, or incontinence—also bed sore risk factors—these conditions must also be noted in the care plan along with how the staff will mitigate unnecessary harm considering these conditions.
All nursing home residents will benefit from the following general preventative measures against bed sores:
- Repositioning every two hours in bed, or every 15 minutes in a wheelchair
- Providing soft padding in wheelchairs and beds
- Keeping skin clean and dry and protecting it with moisture barrier creams
- Following a nutrition plan with appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals, fluids, calories, and protein
Bed sore injuries are exceedingly rare when prevention is a nursing home’s top priority. This requires strict adherence to every resident’s care plan and adapting to each resident’s unique needs over time. Unfortunately, many Chicago area nursing homes have shown that they are not up to the task, and their elderly residents have sustained unnecessary bed sore injuries as a result. These facilities must be held responsible for the pain and suffering that has taken place under their watch.
What are the Stages of Bed Sore Severity?
Bed sores are complex injuries that demand immediate medical attention at the first sign of development.
You can determine approximately how long a bed sore has gone without proper treatment by gauging the stage of the injury. This may also play a role in determining whether improper care led to the injury in the first place. There are four stages of bed sore severity:
- Stage 1: The area is red (sometimes blue or purple like a bruise) and feels warm to the touch. It may be accompanied by itchiness, burning, or other pain that feels different than the surrounding skin.
- Stage 2: The sore opens and is accompanied by more significant pain. The skin around the wound may also be discolored.
- Stage 3: The wound begins to crater as tissue damage below the skin’s surface stretches deeper and wider.
- Stage 4: The area is severely damaged by substantial tissue loss, and a large wound is present. The damage can affect nearby joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Infection and other life-threatening complications are significant risks at this stage.
It cannot be overemphasized that bed sores are serious regardless of the stage, and failing to provide prompt care can lead to complications very quickly. It is inexcusable for anyone assigned to your loved one’s care in a nursing home to allow such an event to occur.
What Complications Can Arise from a Bed Sore Injury?
The dangers of bed sores are dramatically amplified by the complications they trigger. While these complications may be treatable, they rarely resolve without intense physical pain. For elderly individuals who are often already dealing with several health-related issues, the addition of yet another ongoing medical procedure can have a significant negative impact on both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Infections are always among the most immediate bed sore complication risks. They can spread throughout the body very quickly. Infected ulcers can lead to weakness, cognitive impairment, cardiac issues, and even sepsis, an infection overresponse from the body that is often deadly.
Be on the lookout for signs of an infection if your loved one has developed a bed sore. Common indicators include: fever, drainage from the bed sore, foul smell, skin color changes, warmth, and swelling. The presence of any of these symptoms warrants immediate medical care. Any delay or error in care is a direct threat to a patient’s wellbeing. While most of the dangers of bed sores happen very quickly, there is also the possibility of long-term nonhealing bed sores developing into a specific type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
How Do I Report a Chicago Bed Sore to the Appropriate Agencies?
If you believe your loved one’s bed sore injury poses an immediate health threat, or if they are experiencing any other kind of medical emergency, then you should call 9-1-1 for help right away. For injuries that you suspect may have been caused by negligence or abuse, then you should also file a report with the proper authorities as soon as possible. This will ensure resources are allocated into investigating the situation and connecting your loved one with the care they need.
To report suspected elder abuse or neglect resulting in bed sores or any other injury in the Chicago area, call the statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline: 1-866-800-1409.
After your report is filed, an investigator from the agency will be assigned to investigate the matter and assist with creating a long-term safety plan for your loved one.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Senior Services-Area Agency on Aging also offers many services for elder abuse victims, including in-home services, home delivered meals, and adult day services. The agency can even provide 24-hour care in a nursing home in some cases.
Contact the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services: (312) 744-4016
Remember that when it comes to bed sores, every moment that passes without medical care puts the victim at a greater risk for complications. When you make a report to APS, your call will be kept confidential, and you may remain anonymous if you wish. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to assist you if you have any difficulties getting the help you and your loved one need.
Learn more about how you can report Illinois nursing home neglect.
Can I Find Out If a Chicago Area Nursing Home Has a History of Bed Sore Injuries?
While there is no substitute for physically visiting a nursing home to meet with its staff and get a sense of the environment, this may not always be feasible. The Illinois Department of Aging provides a search tool where you can find information on licensed long-term care facilities throughout the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health also releases quarterly reports detailing which nursing homes have been cited for violations over the previous three months. You can review reports dating back to 2005.
Another useful tool is Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare. If a facility has a history of neglect or abuse resulting in bed sore injuries, that information should be documented on Nursing Home Compare. Each nursing home is given a rating between one and five stars based on its performance in health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. You can review a facility’s inspection reports to get details on past complaints and whether there have been for specific deficiencies or abuse citations.
Nursing Home News: University of Chicago Researchers Find Bed Sores are Underreported
While resources such as those listed above are useful, you cannot expect them to provide a perfectly accurate reflection of life inside any given facility. Nursing Home Compare in particular has been scrutinized recently for its shortcomings.
There are reliable reports that Nursing Home’s Compare’s star system can be manipulated by facilities to cover up mistreatment, and recent research from the University of Chicago has shown that the number and severity of bed sore injuries suffered by Medicare residents in US nursing homes may be getting substantially underreported by Nursing Home Compare. The University of Chicago researchers found that between 2011 and 2017, nursing homes self-reported only 59.7% of hospitalized bed sores between stages 2-4 among long-stay residents.
Those with experience in the senior care industry in Chicago and throughout the rest of the country are likely unsurprised by these findings. Many nursing homes have unfortunately become adept at hiding the truth about what goes on in their facilities as profits have become greater priorities than patient care. Prospective residents and their families should always keep in mind that bed sores and other forms of elder abuse and neglect can take place anywhere, even in facilities with very high rankings and reviews.
Free Chicago Bed Sore Lawyer Case Consultation
Almost all bed sore injuries are preventable through appropriate care.
If your loved one developed a pressure ulcer in a Chicagoland healthcare facility, speak with Senior Justice Law Firm today.
Our Chicago bedsore lawyer can get your family justice for the harm caused. Call or live chat with our office today for a free case consultation.
Call our Chicago bed sore lawyer today: 773-739-8250.