Pressure Sores

Are Bedsores in Nursing Homes a Sign of Neglect?

Updated November 9, 2023.

Many families rely on nursing homes to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their elderly loved ones. When entrusting a family member to the care of a nursing facility, it’s natural to expect that their physical and emotional needs will be prioritized. However, issues like bedsores – also known as pressure ulcers – raise questions about the standard of care being provided in nursing homes. That said, if your loved one has developed bedsores in a nursing home, you may wonder if the nursing home is responsible. Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Rochester personal injury lawyer from Lacy Katzen for more information. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What exactly are bedsores?

Bedsores develop due to prolonged pressure on the skin, often affecting areas over bony prominences like the heels, hips, and tailbone. Those with limited mobility, especially bedridden individuals, are at the highest risk.

At the onset, bedsores might seem like mere discomfort. But if left untreated, they can evolve into deep wounds susceptible to infection. Their progression is categorized into four stages, with Stage 1 being the mildest and Stage 4 indicating a very deep wound.

What are some of the most common causes of pressure ulcers?

It’s essential to note that not every case of bedsores developed in nursing homes indicates neglect. Some individuals, due to their health conditions or age, are inherently more prone to developing these ulcers. Factors such as poor nutrition, dehydration, or underlying medical conditions can increase susceptibility.

However, when prevention measures are in place – regular position changes, skin assessments, proper hydration, and nutrition – the risk of bedsores decreases. And this is where the crux of the issue lies.

Are pressure ulcers a clear indication of neglect in nursing homes?

While not all bedsores are evidence of neglect, a consistent pattern of such injuries can point to a systemic problem within a facility. If bedsores are frequently occurring or worsening without appropriate intervention, it might indicate:

  • Inadequate staffing leading to irregular patient rotations or checks.
  • Lack of proper training for the staff in recognizing and treating early signs of pressure ulcers.
  • Absence of necessary medical equipment, like pressure-relieving mattresses.

Nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents. If this standard is not met and results in injuries like bedsores, legal action may be a valid recourse.

What should I do if I discover my loved one has pressure ulcers?

If you suspect that a loved one’s bedsores are a result of neglect or inadequate care, it’s advisable to:

  • Document the injuries with photographs and notes.
  • Consult with a physician to assess the severity and required treatment.
  • Speak with the nursing home management about your concerns.
  • Seek legal advice to understand your rights and potential remedies.

A seasoned personal injury attorney, well-versed in nursing home neglect cases, can provide guidance on the best steps forward. They can assist in determining if there’s a valid claim, ensuring that the rights of your loved one are upheld.

While bedsores can sometimes be an unfortunate consequence of an individual’s health condition, consistent patterns and untreated wounds should not be ignored. Understanding the balance between natural occurrences and potential neglect is key, and when in doubt, seeking professional advice is always a wise decision.

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