What is it: Contractures result when unused muscles “contract” and remain in place for such an extended period of time that the muscles freeze in the contracted position. A hospital note that describes a patient that came from a long-term care setting and is found to be “contracted into a fetal position” is a red flag that the resident was probably not receiving the minimal care, attention and exercises (called range of motion exercises, or ROM) that are necessary. With proper ROM exercises, contractures are, generally, preventable. In the case of severe contractures, surgical contracture “release” surgery may be necessary. One who is severely contracted is at increased risk for the development of pressure ulcers and other complications. Most importantly, preventable contractures are evidence of repeated long-term neglect, as contractures take an extended period of time to develop.
Prevention of Contractures: Contractures are preventable but once they occur they are difficult to alleviate. Sadly, many nursing home residents can suffer contractions because of nursing home neglect, understaffing, or inability of staff to provide proper preventable measures. To lessen the severity of contractures, exercise, proper body positioning, and splinting are methods that should be taken into account.
Take Action: Contractures are a form of nursing home neglect and abuse. 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 moved one has been neglected, please contact us today at 850-222-2000. We have helped hundreds of families seek justice for loved ones that have suffered.