Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, are damage to the skin and tissue beneath caused by extended pressure on a bony prominence such as the tailbone. Pressure sores are graphic, ugly, smelly, and dangerous evidence of health care providers’ failure to take good enough care of the elderly. They occur among people who are bed or wheelchair bound and who are not turned and positioned frequently to relieve pressure. Bedsores are preventable with pressure relief, nursing diligence and providing proper hygiene.
Stages of Bedsores
Bedsores are classified into four stages based on their severity:
- Stage I: Area of redness that does not blanch or fade.
- Stage II: Wound where the top layer of skin is removed but the underlying fat or tendons are not exposed.
- Stage III: The sores are deep enough to expose the second layer of skin and underlying fat.
- Stage IV: Deep sores that expose muscle, ligaments or bone.
Causes of Bedsores
Patients at long-term care facilities or nursing homes frequently develop bedsores, particularly if the facility is understaffed or lacks adequate resources to provide proper bedsore prevention. Risk factors include:
- Inability to move
- Dependence on facility for hygiene
- Lack of proper nutrition or hydration
- Poor blood circulation for conditions such as diabetes
- Medical conditions that cause sensation loss (such as spinal cord injuries)
Treatment and Prevention of Bedsores
Most bedsores are preventable with careful nursing care and frequent pressure relief. Bedsores often result from neglect of basic nursing or custodial care, such as:
- Failure to relieve pressure on the bedsores by changing a patient’s position frequently
- Failure to keep a resident clean and dry
- Failure to provide a proper diet and sufficient water
- Failure to monitor less severe bedsores once they form
- Failure to follow treatment orders once bedsores form
If your loved one develops pressure ulcers at a nursing home or assisted living facility, or at an adult family home, you may be able to seek accountability in court by filing a lawsuit. An attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the facility and the responsible care providers and show a connection between the bedsores and poor care at the nursing home. You can sue a nursing home or long term care facility for negligence or potentially file a claim for neglect. If your relative dies as a result of the bedsores, you may have a claim for wrongful death. To bring a lawsuit successfully, you have to prove in court that:
- The facility owed your relative a duty of care
- The facility breached that duty
- The breach caused your loved one to develop a bedsore or made the bedsore worse
- The resident was harmed as a result.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit because of poor care causing a bedsore, you should consult a lawyer. The facility will have an attorney representing its interests, and it’s essential to have your own attorney to guide you through the complex process of filing suit over nursing home neglect and negligence that causes a pressure ulcer.
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