When Are Bedsores a Sign of Neglect?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jan 03, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse
Bedsores, also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, develop when a person experiences long periods of inactivity. Although not uncommon among immobile nursing home residents, bedsores can be a sign of neglect by a nursing home if they are left untreated.
If your loved one developed bedsores due to neglect by a caregiver, the skilled Silver Spring nursing home abuse attorneys of Goldberg Finnegan will fight to hold responsible parties accountable for the harm they caused. Contact us for a free consultation to learn if pursuing legal action is an option for your family.
What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores (decubitus ulcers) are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressured on the skin, which restricts blood flow to the affected skin. They occur in immobile people who are left stationary for long periods.
Pressure sores typically form on areas of the body where the bone is closest to the skin, such as:
- Lower back
Stages of Bedsores
Bedsores develop in four stages, increasing in severity.
- Stage one bedsores start as a rash. You may notice a difference in skin pigmentation at the sight; skin may be reddened or darker.
- Stage two bedsores occur when the skin breaks open and erodes, leaving a painful decubitus ulcer. The area will be sensitive, and may look like a cut, blister or small crater as it expands into the skin.
- Stage three bedsores appear as a small crater in the skin. Body fat may be visible.
- Stage four bedsores extend through the skin and fat, into muscle tissue and bone. These decubitus ulcers cause severe damage, and may impact deep tissue, joints and tendons.
If you notice a bedsore on your loved one, notify the nursing home staff immediately. Bedsores can worsen rapidly if treatment is not given.
Complications of Untreated Bedsores
When bedsores go untreated, the patient can suffer life-threatening consequences, including:
- Infections in joints and bones
- Flesh-eating bacteria
- Lymph node or skin cell cancers
Untreated pressure sores are commonly an indication of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Who Is at Risk for Bedsores?
Nursing home residents at the highest risk for developing pressure sores include patients who:
- Are immobile due to a disability or injury
- Are incontinent and could be left unchanged by staff
- Have decreased mental capacity or cognition and may not report symptoms of bedsores
- Are suffering dehydration, malnutrition, blood clots, obesity or another deficiency
- Have lost weight rapidly
- Cannot move about without a caregiver’s assistance
- Have fragile or dry skin
- Have medical conditions affecting blood flow, including vascular disease and diabetes
While bedsores are common among residents of nursing homes, they are preventable when caregivers deliver proper care. Caregivers and nursing home staff should take the following steps to prevent bedsores:
- Adjust the resident’s position regularly
- Keep the body dry
- Alleviate pressure to bony areas of the body
- Change the resident’s clothing daily
- Change bedding regularly
- Keep up the resident’s hygiene
- Keep resident well-fed and hydrated
Caregivers and nursing home staff should check on residents numerous times per day to ensure proper care is delivered to keep bedsores from forming or worsening.
Contact Our Skilled Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
The seasoned Silver Spring attorneys of Goldberg Finnegan advocate for elderly nursing home residents. In these caregiving environments, residents must be properly cared for to prevent complications like bedsores.
If your loved one has suffered bedsores caused by a caregiver’s neglect, legal action may be an option for your family.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our nursing home neglect attorneys now. We charge no upfront fees and only receive payment if we recover damages in your case.