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What is Contracture in a Nursing Home?

Submitted by jrlaw on Oct 26th, 2009

MedHelp.org defines contracture as a “fixed tightening of muscle, tendons, ligaments, or skin.” When this condition occurs it actually prevents ordinary movement of the affected body part. This type of condition is usually brought on by a burn injury, as the skin area has become too scarred and rough to move in a natural “elastic” manner.

Medline Plus states that there are four primary causes for the condition: they are genetics, traumatic injury, nerve damage or from infrequent use of the joint. Needless to say, this is a very painful condition and one that is personally affecting to one’s dignity. Eventually this dysfunction will case a person to lose all voluntary movement in the joint, making daily tasks and regular work more difficult.

How does this problem tie in with nursing home abuse? Contracture in a nursing home can happen naturally, because of the likelihood of immobility. The average person does a variety of range-of-motion movements in any given day. However, nursing home residents don’t move as often and so their muscles can start to atrophy and eventually shrivel.

It is the obligation of the registered nurse to exercise a senior’s joints in order to prevent contracture from happening. Before performing these range-of-motion exercises the registered nurse must be professionally trained. If the patient prefers to do the exercises on his own, then the staff should give kindly reminders. Furthermore, if the patient has osteoporosis, severe arthritis or other diseases, then a doctor must oversee the process.

Remember that neglecting to care for an elderly person’s needs is a form of nursing home neglect. Allowing contracture in a nursing home to develop is a serious and preventable grievance committed against an elderly patient who has handed over his trust to this home. If your family has such suffered such an indignity because of someone else’s negligence then it’s time to take action. The Rasansky Law Firm can help you with cases of elderly abuse and nursing home neglect, even in cases of contracture. Call 1-800-ATTORNEY to talk with educated and experienced lawyer.