Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, can pose serious health complications for nursing home residents. Unfortunately, these painful lesions can be one of the more common signs of nursing home neglect.
If a bedridden or immobile patient is not provided proper skin care and repositioned regularly, the skin can break open and develop an ulcer. If your loved one develops bedsores and resides in an assisted living facility or nursing home, this is a strong indication that they are not receiving the basic care that they deserve.
Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP represents elderly patients and their families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas in cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect. Bedsores are not only excruciatingly painful for the elderly — they are almost completely preventable by following standardized patient care protocols. Contact our office for a free consultation with an Oklahoma nursing home bed sore attorney who can explain your rights and the best course of action.
What are bedsores?
Bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers, are open wounds in the skin caused by extended periods of pressure applied to a specific body part. These sores frequently develop on bony parts where the skin is especially thin, like the elbows, hips, ankles, shoulder blades, and tailbone. Prolonged pressure hinders circulation, ultimately causing tissue damage and death.
Serious tissue damage can occur in a short time span – sometimes as little as 12 hours of constant pressure and lack of movement.
Bedsores occur in four stages:
- Stage 1 – skin discoloration and mild tenderness
- Stage 2 – skin is inflamed, red, and beginning to open
- Stage 3 – an ulcer develops into the deeper layers of skin
- Stage 4 – the lesion extends to the muscle, soft tissues, and bone and may be covered by an eschar or thick scab
Nursing home bed sores are preventable
Any licensed nursing home or assisted living care facility is well-versed in the risks and prevention protocols for bedsores. As such, staff are required to pay special attention to bedridden or immobile patients by:
- Performing a daily skin assessment
- Repositioning or turning every two hours
- Providing proper skin care to moisturize and keep infections at bay
- Using pads, pillows, or protective devices that relieve pressure on fragile, thin skin
- Developing a wound management plan to prevent bedsores from worsening
- Ensuring patients are hydrated and have proper nutrition
Dehydration, malnutrition, and constant exposure to soiled clothing or bedding can increase the risk for bedsores. When caregivers fail to follow these basic protocols for patient safety and health, and a loved one develops bedsores as a result, legal action may be warranted. If you suspect negligence on the part of staff or administrators, an Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors can offer sound legal support.
Symptoms and treatment for bedsores
Discoloration, tenderness, itching, and skin that doesn’t lighten when touched are all potential signs of a bedsore. In more advanced cases after necrosis sets in, the skin will appear black. When pressure ulcers become infected, there may be a foul smell and a greenish discharge around the wound.
The treatment for bedsores depends on the depth and location of the ulcer. Any infection must be addressed with oral, IV, or topical antibiotics followed by one or several of the following protocols:
- Debridement to remove dead tissue
- Negative pressure wound therapy
- Medicated dressings
- Frequent repositioning
- Skin grafts
Holding negligent nursing homes accountable
Our legal team has decades of experience securing justice and fair compensation for victims of nursing home neglect. We understand the laws governing long-term care in Oklahoma, and know how to prove liability when severe neglect causes an elderly resident to develop nursing home bedsores.
The elderly deserve the best care and treatment available, but nursing home staff shortages, improper hiring, and lack of training lead to countless injuries every year. Because bedsores can become infected and eventually lead to sepsis, gangrene, and even death, these injuries must be taken seriously, and negligent caregivers brought to justice.
When facilities breach their duty of care, victims may be eligible to file a nursing home bed sore lawsuit. Successful litigation can net compensation for past and ongoing medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other appropriate damages.
Talk to an Oklahoma pressure ulcer attorney
Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP offers compassionate advocacy in nursing home neglect cases throughout Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and the surrounding communities. Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation with a skilled bedsore attorney.