Nursing Home Neglect: Are Pressure Sores Avoidable? Part II

The Chicago and South Chicago Nursing Home and Injury Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe are concerned about the state of elder care in our state and nationally. As Elder Advocates for over 25 years we have seen tragic and often preventable injuries and death and know that knowledge and education can often be the best defense against the abuse and neglect of our elderly.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse is a sad and tragic fact of life.  The advocacy for the victims of this type of neglect and abuse is complicated and requires detailed knowledge of applicable federal and state regulations and standards. In addition, extensive review of the admitting documents is crucial in determining whether the nursing care facility may assert the defense that the pressure sores were unavoidable because the patient was admitted with existent ulcers (see March 5, 2012 same title “Part I’)

The Federal Omnibus Budget Act of 1987 (OBRA) set forth regulations that state they are only for licensure and rate reimbursement and cannot be the basis of the lawsuit.   Personal Injury attorneys practicing in this area must consult the state case law to determine how these federal regulations are applied. In many, if not most states, the courts have held the federal regulations may be used as the standard of care and as evidence of negligence providing appropriate evidence is established and proven,

The federal regulations that apply to pressure ulcers state:

Based on the comprehensive assessment of a resident, the facility must ensure that (1) A resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; (see Part I, March 5, 2012 for application)and (2) A resident having pressure sores receives necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing.

In either situation, the only true defense that may be asserted by the facility is that the resident’s condition made the development or worsening of the ulcer clinically unavoidable. To prove the defense, they must demonstrate what conditions the resident was suffering from and what interventions were put into place.

Once the admitting assessment is completed, a proper care plan must be instituted. This is a documented outline written by an interdisciplinary team, detailing what treatment and risk preventions are to be undertaken in the facility and by whom.

Your Nursing Home Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe know that the requisition of all admittance and care documentation is crucial to advocating on the behalf of the elderly. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding elder care and the steps that may be taken to protect loved ones. Phone consultations are always free of charge and may be the key to protecting and elder friend or family member.

Grazian & Volpe, Part of the Lloyd Miller Law Group