Articles Posted in Bedsores, Pressure Sores, Decubitus Ulcers

In an effort to help seniors and families better evaluate and choose the right nursing home, the federal government has recently improved the Nursing Home Compare website, according to a recent article in Forbes.

As our Maryland nursing home injury blog has previously discussed, the Nursing Home Compare website is a web service listing around 16,000 Medicaid and Medicare-certified nursing homes around the county on a Five-Star Quality rating system—that compares and contrasts the quality standards on both short-term and long-term care.

The newly improved Nursing Home Compare website will reportedly feature 21 new criteria that help to measure the quality of care each resident will receive at different nursing homes and facilities around the country. The government will now include valuable experience from nursing home patients in both short-term and long-term care facilities, making it available on the website. It will make any complaints about a nursing home available, such as nursing home negligence or abuse, providing the necessary information.

The Nursing Home Compare’s new criteria will replace a set of 17 criteria and will focus on the specific and crucial issues affecting nursing home residents today, like pressure sores, infections, nursing home falls, pain, and general health and well being. The new criteria will also discuss the different percentages of nursing home residents who have experienced physical restraint, claim to have experienced pain that is severe to moderate, and who have been given vaccine for pneumonia.

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In a recent Anne Arundel County nursing home blog, our attorneys reported on the problem of pressure ulcers in nursing homes, and the importance of detecting and treating bedsores before they develop into serious infections that could be life threatening.

Bedsores, or decubitus ulcers, affect nearly one million people in the U.S. causing around 60,000 deaths due to complications from the advanced development of the ulcers, like osteomyelitis or sepsis.

As reported in a related Baltimore nursing home injury lawyer blog, pressure sores often form due to nursing home negligence, when immobile residents, or residents who have difficulty moving, are confined to their wheelchairs or beds, restricting the blood flow on certain areas of the body where there is prolonged pressure, causing a lack of circulation and skin breakdown.

Pressure sores often develop in four stages:

• Stage I: When the skin on an area of the body starts to break down, it becomes discolored and red. This is an important stage for healthcare practitioners to identify bedsores, especially with at-risk residents, as pressure sores can be prevented and reversed if caught in the early stages.
• Stage II: The discolored area of a developing bedsore turns into a blister or scrape that forms a sore, resulting from the skin’s breakdown. If the sore does not receive immediate treatment, the skin will continue to deteriorate.
• Stage III: If the pressure sore is not cared for properly, the skin will continue to break down, causing significant loss of the soft tissue beneath the skin’s surface, forming a crater.
• Stage IV: The crater beneath the skin’s surface deepens, in many cases as large as a grapefruit or fist, where the muscle and bone along with tendons and joints, become severely damaged. Residents who suffer from Stage IV pressure sores often experience severe pain and frequent depression, and the massive ulcers can lead to illnesses like sepsis or osteomyelitis that can lead to wrongful death.

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A Charleston nursing home has recently been sued in two separate wrongful death lawsuits, according to a news development that our Baltimore nursing home negligence attorneys have been watching, after two residents died at the home due to the home’s alleged negligence and abuse.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Teays Valley Center nursing home has been sued by the daughter of former resident Anoway Rose Smith, who according to the lawsuit, suffered from nursing home abuse and negligence that led to bedsores, weight loss due to dehydration and nursing home falls.

The lawsuit states that Smith resided at the nursing home four times between August 2009 and February 2010, during which time she sustained systemic nursing home abuse and neglect that led to her death on February 23, 2010.

In a second lawsuit filed against Teays Valley Center, the home is also being accused of causing the wrongful death of another resident. Shirley Osburn has filed the lawsuit, claiming that the her husband John Osburn died as a result of severe nursing home abuse and negligence while residing in the home.

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Our Frederick County nursing home negligence lawyers have been following the recent announcement that a New York State jury has awarded over $5 million in monetary damages in a negligence case, after a patient at the Staten Island University Hospital and the Golden Gate Rehabilitation and Health Care Center reportedly developed severe and untreated bedsores that caused great suffering while staying at both facilities.

According to the lawsuit, Robert Messina. 63, was staying at the hospital and rehabilitation center after a brain dysfunction caused him to collapse in August of 2006. While a resident of both facilities, Messina reportedly developed pressure sores, or bedsores, that caused him to lose the ability to walk and led to a hip infection.

Messina claims in the lawsuit that the bedsores went untreated and developed into massive ulcers affecting his buttocks, genitals, mouth and ankles, leading to a spinal ulcer and a bone infection, or osteomyelitis.

In a related Baltimore nursing home injury lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed the danger of bedsores in nursing homes, and the importance of detecting and treating pressure ulcers early, to prevent the life-threatening infections that can stem from the advanced stages of bed sores like sepsis, a blood infection, and osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection of the bone.

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In a recent Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed a nursing home negligence lawsuit filed by the widow of a resident—who claims in the suit that while her husband was staying in the Madison Manor nursing home, his foot infection was not properly cared for, leading to the amputation of his leg, and wrongful death.

In a related report, the same Madison Manor nursing home has been sued again by the son of a former resident who says the home failed to properly care for his mother, leading to nursing home negligence and wrongful death.

In this second lawsuit, filed just a month after the home was sued for negligence, David Drury claims that the nursing home owners, operators and staff knew that the facility could not provide the minimum standard of healthcare that was promised to his mother, Lena McKinney, causing her to suffer an accelerated deterioration of health and physical condition that was far beyond what is caused by the normal process of aging.

Drury claims that while his mother was a resident of the home from December of 2008 to July of 2009, she experienced nursing home negligence that led to fluid imbalance and malnutrition, weight loss, poor hygiene, nursing home falls, and infections including urinary tract infections and sepsis that led to acute renal failure. As our Baltimore nursing home lawyer blog has reported in the past, sepsis is a serious blood infection in the body resulting in blood poisoning, and can be a lethal condition if it progresses rapidly, leading to organ failure.

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Last month, the widow of a former resident at Madison Manor nursing home filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the Kentucky home, after she claims the nursing home neglected to care for her husband’s foot infection—which led to leg amputation and wrongful death.

According to a Richmond Register report, that our Baltimore nursing home attorneys have been watching develop, Donna Anderson claims that while her husband Robert was a patient at the Richmond Health and Rehabilitation facility/Madison Manor from April to May 2009, the home contributed to the deterioration of her husband’s physical health condition—that was far beyond the normal process of aging.

Anderson claims in the suit that her husband, Robert, suffered severe pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, and disfigurement while he was a resident in the home, as well as loss of personal dignity, because of the negligent care in the nursing home.

The lawsuit also states that Anderson’s infection spread because the home did not take the necessary steps to provide proper care and hygiene, as well as taking necessary precautions to prevent malnutrition. As our Baltimore nursing home lawyer blog has reported in the past, key nutrition and a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can be an important step to the prevention, healing and recovery of nursing home infection. Anderson also claimed that her husband’s care records were not properly maintained, and that his symptoms and pain were not properly monitored.

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According to a shocking Miami Herald expose that our Hartford County, Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys have been following, nursing homes throughout Florida are being accused of horrific cases of elder abuse and neglect. The series of articles in the Herald highlight an alleged breakdown in the state’s nursing home enforcement system—leaving thousands of residents in conditions that are both dangerous and decrepit.

The Herald spent a year examining assisted living facilities and found that as the number of homes have increased to accommodate the state’s major elderly population increase, Florida has failed to protect the very people it was meant to safeguard. Although the number of new nursing homes has totaled 550 in the last five years, the state has reportedly dropped necessary home inspections by 33%, allowing homes with the worst abuse and neglect offenses to remain open.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration oversees 2,850 facilities, and has allegedly neglected to monitor nursing home operators for abuse or neglect, investigate nursing home reports citing dangerous practices, and shut down the homes with the worst offenders—many of which lack necessary staffing, disregard nursing home regulations and deprive their residents of the most basic needs, like food, water and safety.

The investigation found that nearly once every month, residents die from nursing home abuse and neglect. In one incident, a 75-year-old dementia resident, who was at high risk for nursing home wandering, walked away from the Pinellas County nursing home, and reportedly had his body torn apart by alligators. In another home, a 71-year-old resident with a mental illness was burned so severely from being left in a bathtub that was carelessly filled with scalding hot water, that he died from a result of the burns.

Many nursing homes, according to the article, are also regularly caught using restraints that are against the law, including ropes and powerful tranquilizers. In one assisted living home a 74-year-old woman was bound for over six hours, with restraints allegedly wrapped so painfully tight that the device her tore into her flesh, causing her death.

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In recent news that our Baltimore nursing home negligence attorneys have been following, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the husband of a 60-year-old Portsmouth Regional Hospital patient, who alleges that the hospital’s negligence and sub-standard care caused his wife to die from infected bedsores.

According to the lawsuit filed last month, Robert Vozzella claims that the hospital failed to detect and treat his wife’s pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, that developed on her backside while she recovered from surgery. The bedsores reportedly weren’t discovered for three days, and although Vozzella went through two months of pressure ulcer surgeries, the sores became infected due to reported fecal contamination—that led to her wrongful death.

As our Maryland nursing home attorneys have recently discussed, pressure ulcers affect nearly one million people every year, causing nearly 60,000 deaths from complications of serious bed sore development.

Pressure sores often develop in hospitals or nursing care facilities, where patients are immobile for long periods of time without moving. When patients are immobile, often recovering from surgery, or receiving medication, it puts pressure on certain parts of the body, causing the areas to lose circulation—leading the skin to breakdown and develop pressure ulcers.

With proper bed sore care and prevention, pressure ulcers are entirely preventable and even reversible, if discovered quickly enough and given the right treatment and necessary environment for comprehensive healing.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, 1 in 3 elderly adults over the age of 65 suffer from falls, many of which happen in nursing homes—with falls being the leading cause of injury-related death in the age group.

A recent Los Angeles Times article discussed the prevalence of nursing home falls, and that as people get older and more frail, falls can have a life-altering and devastating impact on seniors—often talking a long time before the person can get back to their pre-fall health status, if ever.

To combat the problem of hospital and nursing home falls many programs across the country are being formed to improve fall awareness and prevention. In Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, senior balance classes are offered for their patients, as well as a yearly event for seniors that screen individuals to see who is at risk for falls.

In Lake County, California, a Falls Prevention Task Force has reportedly been implemented with hospitals, fire departments and senior centers, to distribute prevention and awareness literature and sponsor strength and balance classes to improve lower-body strength in seniors.

According to Lake County, when seniors suffer from broken hips due to a fall-related injury and are admitted to a hospital, over 50 percent of the seniors must spend time in a nursing facility or rehab center before going home. Twenty percent of these elderly patients will die within a year of the fall-related injuries.

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According to recent news that our Baltimore nursing home attorneys have been following, a nursing home in West Virginia is being sued for negligence, after a patient living in the home for three years allegedly experienced neglect and wrongful death.

HCR Manorcare is reportedly being sued by Angela Black, claiming that family member Arcel Rose was neglected while living at the home from 2006 until his death in 2009. Black claims that the nursing home caused Rose’s deterioration of health and physical condition beyond what is caused by the normal process of aging—leading to dehydration, infections, pressure sores, malnutrition and death.

Black claims that while under the nursing home’s care, Rose experienced serious emotional and physical trauma, causing extreme and unnecessary pain, degradation, unnecessary hospitalizations, disfigurement, and loss of personal dignity.

As our attorneys have discussed in a related Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, pressure sores pose serious threat to nursing homes across the country, with around one million people affected every year, causing nearly 60,000 deaths from complications of the advanced bed sore development. As our lawyers have previously discussed, with proper nursing home care and prevention, pressure ulcers are entirely preventable and even reversible, if they are discovered quickly enough and given the immediate treatment and environment for proper healing.

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