Bedsores, known medically as decubitus ulcers, occur when the blood flow to the skin is cut off due to unrelieved pressure. They occur primarily in sedentary individuals who are wheelchair-bound or confined to beds and unable to change positions easily without help. It should thus come as no surprise that bedsores are common among elderly populations, especially in nursing homes.
The Dangers of Bedsores
Untreated bedsores can cause serious complications, including cellulitis, tissue damage, and even sepsis. When adult children of aging parents see their loved ones in nursing homes suffering from bedsores, it can be very distressing. If the nursing staff does not seem responsive to caregiver concerns, check out this legal guide to find out what to do.
Bedsores can form fast, but they always follow the same progression. What starts out as a red area on the skin can eventually progress to a deep, large, infected open wound. Since bedsores don’t have to reach this final stage to cause worrisome complications and can take weeks to heal even in earlier stages, the best solution is always prevention.
The good news here is that preventing bedsores is relatively simple. It just takes coming up with a plan. The nursing home staff should start by performing comprehensive assessments on all incoming patients to determine if interventions will be necessary.
The nursing home staff is responsible for not just performing initial assessments but also developing and implementing bedsore assessment plans based on their results. They should be checking on residents regularly, assisting those with mobility impairments in changing positions frequently, and reassessing bedsore prevention plans as needed. Should a bedsore be detected despite the staff’s best efforts, the resident should receive immediate medical attention.
When Is the Staff Liable?
The staff at every nursing home is required to act with reasonable care to prevent harm to residents, which includes the development of bedsores. While not all bedsores are preventable, many of them are. The nursing home staff could be held liable if:
- A bedsore assessment was performed, but the recommendations were not implemented.
A bedsore assessment was performed, but the results weren’t consistent with the resident’s true level of risk.
The resident’s medical condition changed since his or her first assessment and another one was not performed.
The nursing home staff did not check on the resident often enough or thoroughly enough to prevent bedsores.
If a family member or another loved one believes a resident has developed bedsores as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s time to take action. The resident’s family members have the right to know who was responsible and, if the staff did not take proper precautions and could be considered liable for the injuries, to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Hire a Lawyer
Because not all bedsores occur as a result of negligence or abuse, it can be hard to prove a bedsore injury claim in court. The best thing to do is to hire a lawyer who can provide personal injury representation to the elderly resident and his or her family right away.
A qualified lawyer can help clients find out exactly what happened and who was responsible, then come up with a plan for seeking compensation. Most law offices offer free consultations to new clients, so there’s nothing to lose. Schedule a consultation ASAP.