IDPH has cited and fined DuPage Care Center nursing home in Wheaton after a resident there sustained burns to both knees during therapy.
One of the facts of aging is that as we age, our skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to injury. This is part of why many nursing home residents are at increased risk for developing bed sores. The thinning of the skin also increases the chances that the resident will suffer burns from hot packs during therapy and requires that the resident’s exposure to the heat from hot packs during therapy be carefully monitored.
The resident at issue was a long-term resident of the nursing home and suffered from intellectual disabilities and arthritis. He began to experience pain in the knees, so an order for physical therapy was obtained. As part of physical therapy, he received hot packs for 10 minutes during five separate sessions before he was injured.
On the day of the accident, the resident was treated by a different therapist. That therapist claimed to have also given the hot packs for 10 minutes also, but when the hot packs were removed, the knees were red and blistered. The resident was diagnosed with full thickness burns. These burns later developed a cellulitis infection and required IV antibiotics for care.
When the resident was interviewed by the state surveyor, the resident reported that the hot packs were left on for 30-35 minutes.
Clearly, something was done differently during this session where the resident was injured. The resident had been able to tolerate the use of the hot packs for a 10 minute period during the earlier sessions, so the cause of the burn was not something unusual about the resident’s condition. Either the hot packs were far hotter than they should have been, or – as the resident reported – the hot packs were left on for a much longer period of time than they should have been.
One of the things that families considering getting legal help for injuries that occur during physical therapy should be aware of is that most often physical therapy is those services are generally provided in most nursing homes by outside contractors. Correctly identifying this entity requires extra investigation and is a good reason to get skilled legal help sooner rather than later. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
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