Posted in Nursing Home Abuse on June 13, 2017
As the Baby Boomer generation retires and ages, more and more family, friends and loved ones require some degree of assisted living or nursing home care. Unfortunately, placement in assisted living or nursing homes is full of risks – none more so than the development of bedsores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. Although you may have heard one of these terms, they all generally refer to the same condition – the development of a sore or wound on the surface of the skin that, left untreated, may progress to a deep tissue wound involving bone. If you suspect nursing home abuse that resulted in bed sores, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today to discuss possible remedies.
In many cases, the development and/or progression of a bed sore is a preventable event that should not happen with the provision of proper medical care. Bed sores typically develop due to the failure of responsible medical staff to turn and reposition a patient on a timely schedule to relieve pressure from one spot where a sore may develop. There are other factors that may lead to bed sores as well: poor nutrition, failure to change wet clothing and failure to provide appropriate pressure relieving devices all may lead to the development of preventable bed sores.
Once a bedsore has started, a physician at the facility should order a care plan to prevent the wound from progressing. This may include pressure reducing mattresses, frequent cleaning and bandaging of the wound, and frequent re-positioning of the patient to take pressure off of the wound.
Often times a bedsore progresses because a physician’s Plan of Care is not followed by staff at the nursing home or assisted living facility. These facilities may advise you that they need time to obtain special equipment, such as beds, or that they do not have sufficient staff to provide the Plan of Care. However, these are not legitimate reasons to excuse what amounts to neglect. The fact is that every nursing home and assisted living facility is required to deliver medical services that meet the applicable standard of care. The failure to properly implement a Plan of Care is never acceptable.
If a bedsore is allowed to progress, it can lead to serious injury, and even death. Wounds can become infected, requiring antibiotic therapy, and possible surgery to remove infected tissue. Dead or necrotic tissue may develop, also requiring surgery to remove the dead tissue. A Stage 4 bed sore involves the bone, and may require surgery to remove affected bone. And ultimately, wound and/or bone infection may lead to sepsis and death. The care and treatment of an advanced bedsore may require hospitalization and treatment by wound care specialists, and general or plastic surgeons. The wound itself is likely painful, as is the recovery. And, the treatment for these injuries is expensive.
Because proper care and properly implemented Plans of Care should prevent the development and progression of bed sores, these cases often result in monetary recovery to pay for the medical expenses incurred and to compensate for the pain and suffering the resident experienced. Many of these cases settle before a lawsuit even has to be filed. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect causing a bedsore to develop, call us for a free consultation.
Bed sores are just one of many injuries that elderly patients unfortunately suffer while residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Other common injuries happen from falls, malnutrition, and medication errors. In most instances, these types of injuries also should not occur if the facility is providing proper care. With over 25 years’ experience litigating medical malpractice cases and nursing home cases, we are uniquely qualified to assess your claim for injuries related to falls, malnutrition and medication errors as well.