Are bedsores a sign of nursing home abuse?

by Hessig & Pohl | Apr 5, 2019 | 

Pressure ulcers, more commonly referred to as bedsores, may be a sign of nursing home abuse and/or neglect. Bedsores occur when someone is inactive and not moving from the same position for a very long time. They are common among the elderly who cannot move very well. If a person who resides in a nursing home begins to have bedsores, it is a good sign that that elderly person is being neglected and not properly being taken care of.

The sores are caused by sustained pressure on the skin in one spot or area of the body. This pressure will decrease the flow of blood to the area causing the skin to receive less oxygen. Eventually the skin will die, thus causing the formation of sores or broken, infected skin. Here are other causes of bed sores:

  • Friction: Skin becomes fragile and inflamed when it is repeatedly rubbed against something such as bedding. Once the skin is damaged, it will begin to crack and flack and become infected, causing ulcers.
  • Shear: This is where skin is moved against some material in the opposite direction. This can happen most often in bed such as when a patient is constantly sliding down a bed, again causing pressure on the skin and restricting oxygen flow.

There are four stages to bedsores:
1. Stage one: This stage of bedsores begin as a rash. Skin pigmentation may slightly change, appearing redder or darker.
2. Stage two:These types of bedsores form when the skin opens, leading to erosion. Decubitus ulcers result, causing pain and sensitivity in the affected area. The bedsore may look like a blister, cut or small crater as it begins to expand into the skin.
3. Stage three: These appear like a small crater and may expose body fat.
4. Stage four: This stage of bedsores goes through skin and fat layers, deep into muscle and bone. It can result in severe damage affecting the body’s deep tissue, tendons and joints.

The areas of the body where bedsores most commonly form are where there is not a lot of fat or skin separating the bone to the pressure point: tailbone, buttocks, ankles, feet, heels, lower back and hips. If the bedsores are not treated in time they can cause serious medical conditions, even death. The following is a list of some of the medical conditions that bedsores can turn into if not treated in time. Therefore, if your family member who has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, look more closely for bedsores:

  • Bone and joint infections;
  • Sepsis;
  • Gangrene;
  • Amputation;
  • Flesh-eating bacteria engaged;
  • Cellulitis; and
  • Cancer of the lymph nodes or skin cells.

So, why is it neglect and abuse when a person in a nursing home gets bedsores? Even though bedsores are common, they are preventable with the right treatment. When a nursing home is short staffed, many of the techniques to prevent bedsores are not done enough or not done at all. If this is the case, then the nursing home could be negligent for any injuries that might happen. Here are some of the techniques meant to prevent bedsore:

  • Reposition the body on a regular basis;
  • Keep the skin and body dry;
  • Reduce pressure on bony areas throughout the body;
  • Change clothing on a daily basis;
  • Change bedding on a regular basis;
  • Maintain the resident’s hygiene; and
  • Ensure the resident receives adequate nutrition and hydration.

If your loved one has suffered from bedsores while under the care of a nursing home, neglect may be the cause. Get the justice your family deserves –our nursing home bedsores attorneys can help you hold negligent nursing home facilities accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today to review your claim and discuss your legal options. No upfront payment is required and you only pay us if were cover compensation for you. Please contact us here or at (502) 777-1111.

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