Neglect and Contractures
On this website, I have mentioned many ways to spot neglect or abuse. But, there is one sign of neglect that I haven’t discussed yet. This sign is called a contracture, and it can happen in a nursing home or a similar care facility if staff members aren’t doing their jobs. On this page, you can learn about what a contracture is. This will help you spot one and get your loved one help if they develop one.
What is a Contracture?
A contracture occurs when normal muscle tissue becomes rigid and inelastic. Regular muscle tissue connected to bones is flexible. When it becomes inflexible, a person’s muscles and tendons become shorter. They also get stuck in one position, which makes moving very difficult. This issue is also called the frozen joint syndrome. Contractures make it very difficult to move around, and in some cases, they make it impossible to move. These are most common in body parts such as legs, arms, hands, and feet. Contractures are actually simple to prevent. But, once they develop, they are very difficult to get rid of. If a contracture develops, it is usually a sign that your loved one has been neglected.
Every care facility should be invested in preventing contractures. Contractures that develop in nursing homes are too high. Any number of this issue is too high because this is a preventable issue. Common preventative measures include:
- Soft tissue manipulation.
- Physical therapy.
- Occupational therapy.
- Heat application.
These measures can prevent contractures or improve movement for people who suffer from this issue.
Who is at Risk?
People who have difficulty moving around are at a greater risk for contractures than the average person. This makes many elderly people at risk for contractures. Those who suffer from cardiac issues, depression, bedsores, osteoporosis, and similar issues, may have difficulty with mobility. The less mobility that a person has on their own, the more staff members should watch out for contractures.
It is the responsibility of nursing home staff to prevent issues such as contractures from developing. Staff members should be aware of each resident’s mobility and needs. If a resident needs help staying active to prevent contractures, staff members need to provide this help. Failure to do so can be considered neglect. If you think that your loved one was neglected in a nursing home because they have a contracture, seek help. You can get help from a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney. Such a lawyer has likely handled cases such as yours in the past. They can tell you the best way to proceed. Meet with an attorney to discuss your case. You can also learn about your options and the best one for your family.