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Elderly Nursing Home Residents Are at Risk for Developing Contractures

When we place our loved ones in nursing homes, we expect that they are being properly cared for. Unfortunately, when elderly individuals do not get enough movement or exercise, it can often result in reduced range of motion. One such problem nursing home patients are at risk of is developing contractures.

What Causes Contractures?

Many elderly patients in nursing homes do not get adequate movement. Although nursing home residents are supposed to get help doing range-of-motion exercises, sometimes improper staffing and poor care in Florida nursing homes causes residents to develop contractures. When each joint does not get enough movement, it can lead to a contracture.

What Are Contractures?

Our joints are supposed to move and go through normal range of motion movements. When this doesn’t occur, muscles can eventually shrink—causing a reduced range of motion. This is known as contractures, which is when the joint becomes stiff and painful and muscles have shortened due to long periods of immobility. When stiffness in the joints and shortening of the muscles occur, a person’s hands, arms, feet and legs can start to pull in toward the body. Sadly, those in long-term nursing homes who aren’t getting adequate movement can suffer from degeneration, deformities, and increased stiffness in the joints.

How Contractures Progress

When a person gets contractures, it is difficult to stop them from progressing. If contractures are caught in the early stages, sometimes the right stretches can help. However, once contractures develop, it is very difficult to correct. Eventually, an affected nursing home resident won’t be able to bathe, groom, get dressed, or even eat on their own.

The Reality of Contractures

Contractures are a form of nursing home neglect and abuse. Nursing homes have a duty to help their patients prevent getting contractures. They can do this through properly evaluating the resident, repositioning the resident, use of splints, and exercise or physical therapy. When nursing homes fail to provide their residents with adequate movement and exercises, they can be held liable for nursing home neglect.

If you believe your elderly loved one has been neglected in a Sarasota nursing home, please contact us today at 888-409-3805. We have helped hundreds of families seek justice for the wrongs their loved ones have suffered, and we would love the opportunity to help you as well. Call for a free consultation or a free copy of our book, The Florida Nursing Home Abuse Handbook: Ways to Recognize and Prevent Abuse and Neglect.