Is a nursing home responsible for bed sores?
Bedsores are very common in elderly people, especially those who are immobile; however, what you might not realize is that many bedsores are a result of neglect. With the right care, it may be possible to prevent bedsores from happening. When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care and treatment to an elderly resident, there is a risk of them developing bedsores. If these also go untreated, they could lead to an infection, immense pain, or in severe cases, death. As a nursing home abuse lawyer might explain to you, a nursing home may be liable for neglect when bed sores develop or are not being treated.
Bedsores are a type of ulcer on the skin that are a result of pressure. Usually, bed sores develop on the bony areas of the skin; such as the hips, elbows, knees, ankles, heels, and tailbone. When an elder has no or limited mobility, bed sores can develop in these and other places.
The severity of a bed sore may vary from a mild, red irritation to a gaping wound that is infected and may even expose muscle, tissue, and bone. If a bed sore leads to an open wound, the risk of developing further harm is considerably high – especially in facilities that have a staph and MRSA infections.
Causes and Prevention
When there is any kind of prolonged pressure on an area of the body, there is also limited blood flow to that area. As a result, the skin becomes damaged and a bedsores can develop. Very rarely do active residents experience bedsores; rather, they are most common in people who are bed-bound or in a wheelchair.
The most effective treatment to prevent bedsores is to change the patient every so often. Staff at the nursing home should know how to reposition elders and should do this as needed. There are also specialized mattresses, bedding, and tools that can assist in repositioning and bedsores prevention.
When Bedsores Occur, Who Is Responsible?
Although bed sores can develop even when staff are carefully attending to a patient, they are often preventable. If a bed sore develops due to poor care or neglect, the nursing home may be responsible. In general, the elder will have been treated by multiple staff, and if all of them did not adhere to their duties, a nursing home lawyer might explain to you that there may be a larger problem within the facility. If the elder had only one caregiver, the nursing home could still be responsible due to the reasons of:
Poor hiring procedure
If your elderly loved one has developed bedsores and you believe he or she is being neglected, it is advisable to talk with the administrators about your concerns. You might also want to report your concerns to your state agency. Finally, you can ask a pressure sore lawyer to review your case.