Bed / Pressure Sores

Bedsores, also referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers are frequently caused by neglect and can occur in any nursing setting. These injuries are entirely preventable with proper nursing care and treatment. When these bed sores develop, they can pose a life-threatening risk to nursing home and assisted living facility residents. If you suspect that a pressure sore has developed due to neglect, we strongly suggest you contact one of our nursing home bed sore lawyers here at Southern California Nursing Home Law Group.

What is the Cause of Bed / Pressure Sores?

Bedsores result from leaving residents/patients who cannot move on their own in the same position for long periods of time. They can also result from leaving residents/patients in their beds or wheelchairs for extended periods of time. Usually these are residents and patients that require assistance with turning or rotating in bed or in wheelchairs need help from staff to keep pressure off their buttocks, lower back and heels. These areas are referred to as bony prominences and are susceptible to skin breakdown.

Residents that need help with rotating/turning are at greater risk for skin breakdown if they are not rotated/turned at least every two hours, but sometimes more often. These residents are often limited in their ability to rotate/turn due to recovery from bone fractures, obesity, dementia, and other medical conditions that affect their ability to turn/rotate on the own. Residents/patients that are incontinent of urine or stool are also at risk for bedsores if they are left in soiled diapers.

Failing to rotate or turn a resident, or leaving a resident in soiled diapers is often the result of understaffing at the nursing home. Understaffing is a common issue at nursing homes and is often a result of a facility’s decision to prioritize profits over patient care.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities often come up with unfounded excuses for bedsores. These excuses include patient/resident non-compliance, or claiming a bedsore was “unavoidable.” However, patient/resident non-compliance is usually the result of the facility not care-planning and/or treating the patient/resident with dignity and respect. Also, a bedsore is never “unavoidable” with proper care and treatment. In fact, Medicare has described certain serious bedsores (Stage III or Stage IV) as “never-events,” since they are entirely preventable with proper care and treatment.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will also misdiagnose bedsores in an attempt to escape responsibility. They will refer to them as Kennedy terminal ulcers or diabetic ulcers to suggest they are not the result of a resident being neglected. This is a common ploy by facilities, which is why it is important to have the facts reviewed by a qualified nursing home bed sore attorney.

What are the Complications of Bed / Pressure Sores?

These sores progress in stages, and their severity can range from reddened skin (Stage I) to wounds that go all the way to the bone (Stage IV). Once these bedsores begin, they can be difficult to control and can quickly deteriorate if proper care and treatment is not obtained. If they deteriorate or are left untreated they can develop serious life threatening infections including sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening infection often caused by nursing home neglect.

Nursing homes frequently do not disclose the full extent of bedsores and conceal them from families. Nursing homes will also avoid taking any photographs of bedsores. If you suspect a bedsore has occurred as a result of neglect, family members should request permission to take photographs of the sore to document it and any progression. Also, facilities often employ outside wound care physician to monitor wounds. Residents and families should be suspicious of these companies who often have a financial relationship with the facilities.

If you suspect that a bedsore or pressure sore occurred due to negligence or neglect, the nursing home bedsore lawyers at Southern California Nursing Home Law Group would be glad to talk to you. We know these cases and can let you know whether you have a viable case. Call (866) 607-1325 or fill out an online questionnaire.

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