No Resident Should have Bed Sores from Nursing Home Neglect
An elderly or infirm person under the care of a nursing home should not live with bed sores. In most cases, a bed sore is an unmistakable sign that this person is being neglected. They could be in danger of contracting an infection that could lead to their death.
You must act now if a nursing home resident who is a loved one of yours has bed sores, also called “pressure sores.” Contact SI Elder Law for help if you suspect any kind of neglect or abuse in a Southern Illinois nursing home. We will work quickly to get medical assistance for your family member and hold the nursing home accountable, including seeking compensation or your loved one’s losses, and their pain and suffering.
Nursing Home Bed Sores Indicate Problems with Staff or Procedures
You’ve probably heard of bed sores, but you’ve probably never seen one or had one. They are rare. In fact, in a nursing home or other long-term medical care facility, bed sores are not supposed to happen.
If a nursing home resident develops a bed sore, something is wrong with the care they are receiving
Bed sores in nursing homes are usually a sign of neglect.
Bed sores are caused by remaining in one position for too long, which can happen if a nursing home resident is bedridden or continuously in a wheelchair. They are avoided by routinely urging the resident to move, and/or assisting, repositioning or turning those who cannot move on their own.
Nursing homes should establish policies and procedures for assisting immobile residents, identify such residents, and maintain staff in adequate numbers and with training to help residents unable to move on their own. If a resident develops a bed sore, it should be promptly treated so it does not worsen.
Nursing homes are expected to ensure that a resident who enters the facility without bed sores does not develop them unless their clinical condition makes them unavoidable. For example, in a patient whose abnormal or unstable blood pressure was made worse by movement (known as hemodynamic instability) bed sores might be unavoidable, but are still not inevitable. And, this patient would still be due a measure of preventive care to avoid bed sores.
A resident who enters with pressure sores or develops pressure sores should receive treatment that promotes healing, prevents infection and prevents new sores.
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If your loved one has developed bed sores in a Southern Illinois nursing home, they need medical and legal help from a nursing home bed sore lawyer. Call us today at (618) 912-4271.
What Are Bed Sores?
Bed sores are injuries caused when the pressure of a person’s weight reduces the blood supply to certain points on the skin and in underlying tissue. Eventually, if not treated, skin and other tissue die and wear away, leaving an open wound.
Bed sores occur among people who cannot move to relieve that pressure, such as a nursing home resident who is bedridden. They are painful and, if allowed to progress, cause disfigurement and increased risk of infection.
Other Names for Bed Sores
If a doctor, nurse or someone else at a nursing home tells you about a bed sore they may call them by another name, such as:
– Pressure sore
– Pressure ulcer
– Decubitus (lying down) ulcer
The Medical Field also Refers to Bed Sores According to Their Stage of Development
Stage 1 Bed Sore: A darkened patch of unbroken skin that may be painful to the touch. If left untreated it will become a bleeding injury (ulcer).
Stage 2 Bed Sore: The outer layer of skin (dermis) has broken down and worn away, and damage to the second layer (epidermis) has begun. The sore may be pinkish or red and, if epidermal damage has begun, look like a shallow indentation or a blister.
Stage 3 Bed Sore: This is significant wound, causing a deep opening through the skin revealing fat and yellowish dead tissue. There may also be deeper tissue damage that isn’t visible.
Stage 4 Bed Sore: This is a large wound with extensive tissue destruction. Muscle, bone or tendons may be exposed, and addition damage under healthy skin around a pressure ulcer is likely.
Unfortunately, bed sores do happen in immobile patients. But a routine of care that includes examinations and responding to nursing home residents’ complaints of pain will identify bed sores at early stages, when treatment can more easily halt and reverse damage. At Stage 1 and 2, treating a bed sore consists of cleaning and dressing the sores and relieving pressure on the affected areas.
However, a person living in a nursing home or another kind of skilled-nursing facility should not develop Stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers. Late-stage bedsores are known in the medical community as “never events,” meaning adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable.
Knowing Whether a Nursing Home Resident Has Untreated Bed Sores
A nursing home resident who has early-stage bed sores may need your help to get treatment. If a Stage 1 or 2 pressure sore is being treated by the nursing home, you as a family member should be informed.
Where to Look for Nursing Home Bed Sores
When you visit, ask your loved one whether they have any new pains or sores. Take notice if they appear to have pain they won’t tell you about. Keep in mind that pressure sores are more likely to develop at such spots as:
Bed Sores along the Spine
Bed Sores on the Tailbone
Bed Sores on the Shoulder Blades
You are likely to never encounter a Stage 3 or 4 bed sore. But if a nursing home resident’s condition has progressed to this dire stage, they are likely to be hospitalized. At this point, you should receive a prompt and full explanation of their condition and prognosis from nursing home and/or hospital staff. Surgery will be required to remove affected tissue, and to clean and close the wound, usually with a skin or muscle graft.
Untreated bed sores can develop infections, including sepsis, a potentially deadly infection of the cardiovascular system. In some cases, late-stage pressure sores can lead to squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer that can be caused by chronic wounds.
If you encounter bed sores in a nursing home resident, ask staff and management about how they are being treated and how long they have existed. Anytime there is a significant and sudden downturn in a nursing home resident’s condition, you should question it thoroughly until you have a full and satisfactory explanation.
Get Help Today with a Nursing Home Resident’s Bed Sores
You need to get help if your loved one in a nursing home has bed sores that have progressed beyond the early stages or are not responding to treatment. Your loved one is in pain and is in danger of potentially deadly complications from these wounds.
File Complaint for Bed Sores from Nursing Home Neglect
SI Elder Law can advise and assist you. We can help you obtain any medical care your loved one needs, and we can hold the nursing home accountable for the negligence that has harmed your family member. This may include seeking compensation for your medical costs and your loved one’s pain and suffering.
Our attorneys have helped nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families over several decades in Southern Illinois. In addition to legal advice and assistance, we can refer you to professionals in our network we can also work to provide or obtain assistance your elderly family member may need.
Don’t delay if you believe your family member is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Contact SI Elder Law for a free initial consultation today.