Lawsuit Ensues After Patient Develops Decubitus Ulcers on Back and Heels During Rehab Stint in Nursing Home

By Nursing Home Law Center

Orthopedic Rehabilitation

An orthopedic rehabilitation patient who developed multiple decubitus ulcers on his back and heels has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home where the wounds developed.

Nursing Home and Management Company

The lawsuit alleges that Highland Health Care Center (Illinois) and its parent company Covenant Care Midwest failed to implement preventative measures to avoid the development of decubitus ulcers during a short-term admission. The nursing home patient was admitted to the facility for physical therapy and nursing care following a complete knee replacement surgery.

Despite the facilities knowledge that the man had limited mobility due to his recent surgery, the facility failed to mobilize the man and get him out of bed– and perform the physical therapy he was at the facility for in the first place.

In addition to the role the nursing home played in the the development of the patients decubitus ulcers (similarly called: pressure ulcers, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), the lawsuit alleges that the facility exacerbated the severity of the wounds when they delayed obtaining medical treatment. As a result of the severity of the decubitus ulcers, the dead skin needed to be removed surgically by a process known as surgical debridement.

Specific Allegations in Lawsuit

The lawsuit specifically alleged the following negligent acts on the part of the nursing home resulted in the patients decubitus ulcers:

  • Failing to notify a physician of the change in the man’s medical condition
  • Failing to implement medical treatments ordered by the man’s physician
  • Failing to note changes in the man’s medical condition in the man’s chart
  • Failing to implement a decubitus ulcer prevention program

The lawsuit is pending in Madison County Circuit Court in Southern Illinois.

Rehabilitation Patients in Nursing Home

In our nursing home litigation practice, we see a significant number of cases where a rehab patient has developed a decubitus ulcer during a short-term admission to a nursing home. The underlying reasons may be varied, but I suspect that because many rehab patients tend to be younger and have an outward appearance that they are healthy, staff in nursing homes may be less likely to encourage them to engage in activity.

Short Term Stays can be Risky

Similarly, short-term stays may result in abbreviated or incomplete ‘care plans’ which set forth with specificity what facilities must do to prevent wounds from developing in the first place. Clearly, by accepting a patient– even for a short term stay– nursing homes must take the necessary steps to ensure their well-being. As we see in the above matter, when facilities ignore this obligation significant problems may result.

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric