IDPH has cited the nursing home Regency Care of Morris after a resident there developed a wound infection that required surgical removal.
Wounds and wound infections are major concerns at long-term care facilities. One of the basic responsibilities of nursing home staff is to monitor any of the residents’ wounds and look out for signs of infection. When a symptom of infection is present, the staff must then bring it to the attention of the doctor. The physician then decides whether to instruct the nursing staff on appropriate treatment, to come to the facility and administer the treatment himself/herself, or to have the resident brought to a hospital.
It is crucial to have wound infection treated early. Allowing it to fester could lead to more serious conditions involving various body tissues.
The resident in this case had a wound from a hip replacement surgery. Upon her admittance to the nursing home, it would have been part of the staff’s job to monitor this wound. The resident had staples on the wound when she was admitted to the nursing home, but these staples were subsequently removed during her initial postoperative visit at the hospital. Unfortunately, there was no documentation that the wound was assessed after that postoperative appointment.
Eight days after that visit, the resident asked a nurse at the Regency facility for shower assistance. It was only then that the nurse saw bloody drainage coming from the resident’s surgical wound, and called the doctor.
The resident was brought to the hospital, where wound infection was recognized. She told the doctor and the Department of Public Health surveyor that she had reported the drainage to the nursing home staff a few days earlier, yet nothing was done about it.
By the time the resident was sent to the hospital, she had to undergo surgical debridement of the wound. Doctors had to cut away portions of her gluteus muscle and trochanter, a part of the femur or hip bone. This indicated some level of osteomyelitis, a type of bone infection.
Deep-tissue infections like this happen when a wound infection is left untreated for a time. This resident’s wound was left unchecked and untreated for at least several days. Had the nursing home staff been more diligent in carrying out their wound monitoring duty, and had they called for treatment sooner, the resident’s infection would not have reached a costly and dangerous extent. In short, this resident’s horrible experience could have been avoided.
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