Bed sores (also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) are not only painful but potentially dangerous.
This condition can develop in anyone who must be immobile for an extended period of time. This subjects the skin and underlying tissue to pressure which, in turn, reduces blood flow to the affected area. Left unaddressed, tissue damage can develop in as little as two to three hours.
For anyone living in a nursing home or care facility, bedsores can be a potential problem – especially for residents who are bedridden or who use a wheelchair. Fortunately, this potentially dangerous condition can be prevented with the right level of care. However, it is important for loved ones to be on the lookout for potential problems. It is also critical to understand when and how to get help, should a significant problem develop.
Understanding Bed Sores
This condition most commonly occurs on areas of the body that have the most contact with the bed or wheelchair. Specifically, areas most commonly affected include:
- Buttocks, hips, tailbone,
- Shoulder blades,
- Back of the head,
- Backs of knees,
Bedsores progress through four distinct stages. The speed with which this condition can progress depends on a variety of factors, including the overall health and wellbeing of the individual. Those stages are as follows.
Stage 1: Redness and warmth, with potential burning, itching or pain
Stage 2: Development of scrapes, blisters or open sores, skin discoloration, and severe pain
Stage 3: Subcutaneous damage causes development of crater-like lesions with foul odor and the potential for infection
Stage 4: Underlying tissues now involved (potentially including damage to muscles, tendons and bones) with significant risk for infection or sepsis
Even mild bed sores can take weeks or months to heal. In some cases, surgical intervention is required. In extreme cases, patients can be subject to amputations and potentially even death.
Preventing Bed Sores
According to Johns Hopkins University, the development and severity of bed sores can be related to the quality of care the sufferer receives.
Specifically, caregivers must position an immobile individual correctly and reposition them frequently to relieve pressure. Special pressure-relieving devices, such as cushions, can also be employed to help prevent this problem. The individual must also have good nutrition and proper skincare. In cases where diabetes, circulatory issues or other chronic conditions are present, even more diligence is required.
If your loved one is not receiving the proper care – and new or worsening bed sores are the result – it might be time to seek legal help from a nursing home neglect lawyer.
Care facilities and the caregivers they employ are legally obligated to provide an adequate standard of care for residents. Specific to bedsores, caregivers must take proactive measures to prevent the problem. Should pressure ulcers develop, they must address the problem quickly and effectively.
If caregivers fail to meet their duty of care and bedsores are the result, an experienced attorney can work to demonstrate negligence on the part of the care facility or nursing home. At Clark, Perdue & List, our experienced nursing home neglect team can help you determine whether your loved one might be experiencing neglect or abuse in a nursing home. We fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you and your loved one deserve.
Contact us now to speak directly with an experienced nursing home neglect attorney in Columbus, Ohio.