Nursing home bedsores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers, are caused by nursing home neglect. In fact, as set forth in an authoritative medical treatise “pressure sores are graphic, ugly smelly evidence of a health care providers’ failure to take good enough care of the elderly.”
Bedsores and pressure ulcers are caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the skin, resulting from continual pressure on a particular area of the body. Bedsores and pressure ulcers commonly develop on areas with prominent bones beneath thin layers of skin, such as the coccyx, sacrum, lower back, and heels. The severity of a bedsore can range greatly, from mild bedsores appearing as just minor skin reddening, to severe bedsores appearing as deep wounds exposing muscle and bone. In this regard, bedsores and pressure ulcers are staged from stage one to stage four, with stage four bedsores being the worst. In any case, bedsores or pressure ulcers are very painful and uncomfortable, and your loved one should not have to suffer through them. Thus, if you believe an elderly person is suffering from a bedsore or pressure ulcer, contact San Diego elder abuse attorney Joel Bryant today to end the suffering of your loved one.
Despite what information a nursing home may provide you with, bedsores or pressure ulcers are easily avoidable if the elder is cared for properly. As stated in the name, bedsores or pressure ulcers are caused from the pressure of the elder’s body pushing against the bed, wheel chair, or other furniture they are sitting or lying on for long periods of time (generally speaking, two hours or more). Unfortunately, many elders are susceptible to obtaining pressure ulcers or bedsores, as a majority of elderly patients in nursing homes have severe physical limitations that inhibit them from moving around easily.
The primary thing that a nursing home care provider needs to do in order to keep an elder from getting a bedsore or pressure ulcer is rotate them to a different position about every two hours. In doing so, the area of the body that is under pressure changes constantly allowing for better blood flow to each region of the body, thereby avoiding any significant chance of getting a bedsore or pressure ulcer. That is it!
So, if a loved one has developed any sort of pressure sore or bed ulcer, whether it be stage one or four, it is a sure sign of neglect that should be addressed immediately to prevent the risk of any further pain and suffering that a loved one has already endured. Nursing homes can even take steps to further reduce the risk of their most vulnerable patients developing bedsores or pressure ulcers by simply providing a specialty pressure relieving mattress, or pad for the elder to lie or sit on. By doing so, pressure between the elder’s body and the bed, wheel chair, or furniture will be significantly reduced, lowering their risk of developing these painful and life-threatening sores.
Contact Attorney Bryant and his team today for a free case evaluation to not only get the compensation that a loved one rightfully deserves, but to hold the wrongdoers legally responsible and ensure that such abuse isn’t endured by any other vulnerable elders in their present or possibly future care.
Bedsores and pressure sores will often appear in areas where the elder’s body weight is putting the most pressure against whatever it is that they are sitting or lying on for long time. With that being said, here are some of the most common places a bedsore will form:
There are four stages of a bedsore or pressure ulcer forming, and each stage can quickly lead to the next until it is too late, should the bedsore not be dealt with swiftly and properly by a medical care professional. Here are symptoms to look out for that may very well indicate the formation of a bedsore or pressure ulcer should the symptoms be occurring in a high pressure area on the body such as the ones mentioned above:
When body weight pressure alone is applied to an area of an elder’s skin for just two hours, blood flow can be reduced significantly, thereby cutting off oxygen to that area of the skin and causing the elder’s skin to die. When this occurs, deeper tissue begins to die if left untreated, which can lead to very severe bedsores or pressure ulcers that result in exposed muscle and even bone. When the pressure sore grows, there is a higher risk of developing sepsis, a life threatening bacterial infection in the blood stream.
Most people do not develop bedsores or pressure ulcers since they are constantly moving and able to reposition themselves. However, many nursing home residents are unable to move independently and require nursing home staff to turn and reposition them every two hours, thus preventing the development of bedsores and pressure ulcers. Bedsores and pressure ulcers, if left untreated, can become a life-threatening condition. This is particularly true when the pressure ulcer becomes infected and the resident develops sepsis. This is why it is crucial to contact an experienced, trusted California bedsore attorney as soon as you discover that your loved one is suffering from bedsores.
The four stages of bedsores or pressure ulcers are each more severe than the previous, starting with one as a more mild case, and four as a potentially lethal case. Each stage can quickly turn into the next if left untreated, so it is of great importance to be able to recognize the signs, as mentioned above, and quickly get medical attention for your loved one. The following discusses each of the stages in a bit of detail, and the defining traits of each stage:
Stage One: This is the least dangerous stage, however it can quickly become deadly should the proper care not be taken to immediately begin healing the bedsores and prevent any new ones from forming. Stage one can best be recognized by the following:
In the case of stage one, if recognized quickly, the treatment is very simple, as pressure simply needs to be relieved on that specific area, and the skin can be washed gently with soap and water. However, even in stage one, it is always best to consult with a medical professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of the elder’s bedsore or pressure ulcer.
Stage Two: This stage is more severe than stage one of course, and will happen should a stage one bedsore or pressure ulcer not be taken care of properly. This stage is also much more painful than stage one, as it is defined by the skin breaking open. Signs of stage two include:
In each of these scenarios, the skin becomes very painful to the touch. Stage two is often treated by soaking the damaged skin in a saline solution. Unfortunately however, in stage two the skin has already suffered irreversible damage, as the tissue has been starved of blood flow and other nutrients, and has ultimately begun to die off. This skin is removed to allow the ulcer to be exposed to oxygen, and heal itself. However, it can take weeks for the exposed ulcer to be sealed by the skin as it takes longer for an elder’s body to repair itself.
Stage 3: This stage is more severe than the previous two, and thus much more painful. It is defined by having a much deeper wound than stage two, however there appears to be no bone, tendon, or muscle involvement with the wound itself. Signs of stage three include:
Stage three bedsores or pressure ulcers are very difficult to treat, especially if it occurs on skin that normally would be hard to keep pressure off of it for an elderly individual, such as their back. Stage three bedsores or pressure ulcers can be treated with many methods of debriding, (or removing the dead tissue in order to let the ulcer or wound heal), that require surgery. After surgery, the wound is then covered to reduce the risk of infection.
Stage Four: This stage is the worst stage for bedsores or pressure ulcers. This stage is potentially fatal, as it leaves the elder very susceptible to getting a life threatening infection known as sepsis. The sore in this case is extremely deep compared to the other stages, and involves muscle, bone, tendons, and other connective tissues. Signs of stage four include but are not limited to:
Stage four is the hardest case of bedsores, or pressure ulcers to treat as the wounds almost always require surgery, and even then they do not always heal. The wounds are also so deep that the patient is often very vulnerable to infection such as sepsis, which can be fatal.
Sepsis is a life-threatening, bacterial infection that is often caused by nursing home neglect. Sepsis is often formed in stage three and four of pressure ulcers and bedsores. Sepsis is a life threatening bacterial infection that can enter an elderly individual’s blood stream should a bedsore or pressure ulcer not be properly treated by a medical professional or health care worker. Sepsis is a clear sign of neglect in nursing homes, as it is an indication that an injury has persisted for a long enough time to become life threatening to a patient without being properly treated.
Neglect and failure to properly turn and reposition a resident every two hours can lead to severe and life threatening bedsores and pressure ulcers. When the wounds grow and their severity increases due to improper treatment or care, the elder can develop a life threatening bacterial infection such as sepsis (mentioned above). So yes, bedsores and pressure ulcers can quickly become fatal if improperly treated. When a death occurs as a result of such neglect and mistreatment, the death can be deemed a wrongful death, allowing a deceased individual’s family a right to compensation from the wrongdoers.
Contact a California nursing home abuse lawyer at Attorney Bryant’s office as soon as possible if one of your friends or family has developed bedsores or pressure ulcers. Mr. Bryant and his legal team hold nursing homes accountable for their actions and will take them to trial if need be. Call today for a free case consultation to get the justice that your loved one is rightfully entitled to for the pain and suffering they have endured. By taking action today, you could prevent further abuse by the wrongdoers, and hold them accountable once and for all.
Nursing home neglect, if severe, can lead to nursing home abuse. Often when there are bedsores present there are also other types of nursing home abuse taking place, such as malnutrition and dehydration. If your loved one has developed a bedsore while in a nursing home contact California Attorney Joel Bryant today at (619) 239-7900 for a free legal consultation.
“Joel and his team were the help I needed to approach the nursing home that didn’t take good care of my grandmother. With Joel’s help, my grandmother was fairly compensated for the injuries she suffered as a result of the nursing home’s neglect and abuse.”Andrea C.
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