What are Bedsores?
When people get older and less able to conduct daily activities, they will likely spend a large portion of the day sitting or lying down. This can cause some parts of the body to be subject to prolonged pressure, and, as a result, bedsores can arise.
The wounds people commonly called bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers. Most people associate them with the bedridden and elderly. After all, they tend to develop in areas where gravity forces contact between the body and supportive surfaces, such as a bed, chair or mobility device like a wheelchair.
Problems With Bedsores
While preventing bedsores in elderly nursing home residents cannot always be avoided, they should be treated at the earliest stages. If a nursing home resident is suffering from many bedsores that have not been treated and been allowed to worsen, the patient will be in considerable pain and discomfort. In addition, dangerous complications can arise. It is possible for untreated bedsores to lead to gangrene, cellulitis and even sepsis.
Bedsores Should Rarely Happen
Although not all bed sores are preventable, they shouldn’t occur with nearly the frequency that they do among older adults in nursing care facilities. Simply put, the vast majority of bed sores wouldn’t ever develop if nursing homes all adhered to standards of care that involved proper rotation, cushioning and other protective measures.
Although there are rare cases where people are simply more apt to develop these sores, most cases of pressure ulcers are an early warning of neglect in a care facility. Neglect and abuse are so common in Michigan that a 2011 report found it happened to about one in five nursing home residents.
If your loved one is residing in a nursing home and has been suffering from bedsores, you should consider whether you believe that staff has been effectively treating them. If your loved one has suffered as a result of these bedsores and you believe that neglect has occurred, you may be able to take legal action and claim damages. Nursing home staff should be involved in preventative care as well as in administering effective treatment for bedsores.
Preventing Bed Sores is Easy for Nursing Home Staff
When someone can’t walk or move on their own without help or assistive technology, that directly limits the positions that they can take during the day. That immobility, in turn, can result in a lot of pressure on the same parts of the body. However, there are many ways to rearrange the human body so that it does not always put pressure on the same places.
Rotating people, raising and lowering their abdomen or legs and moving them from one support system, like a bed, to another, like a chair, are all ways to alleviate pressure that builds up on the same place. Additionally, there are now very impressive mattress foams and technologies that reduce the risk of pressure sores. However, both hourly nursing care and better materials and mattresses cost money.
Immobile elderly people will find it difficult to avoid bedsores. However, the staff should do what they can to prevent them. They should encourage patients to change their position every 15 minutes so that the pressure on the body can be redistributed. They should also aid patients in changing their position so that this can be done safely.
Early Treatment is Key For Bed Sore Injuries
The early stages of bedsores do not include the presence of a sore. Instead, a rash or redness usually occurs. Staff should be vigilant and make sure that they are aware when at-risk patients show early signs of bedsores. This will enable the caretakers to administer effective treatment before the issue becomes medically serious and painful for the patient.
Bed Sore Causes
Some nursing homes will simply take the gamble that bed sores don’t usually form easily and cut services back to the point of near neglect. Other times, certain people on staff may be intentionally avoiding one or more of the residents in a facility, leaving those individuals at higher risk than everyone else under their care.
Regardless of why it happens, if a loved one develops a bed sore, especially if it gets beyond the early stages and into the later stages that involve significant abscesses, you should consider taking action.
Bed Sores Caused by Nursing Home Neglect
If a facility will neglect your loved one, they will probably neglect other people, too. The first thing you should do when you discover what you believe to be a sign of neglect is to address the issue with a manager, as well as the nurse on duty.
You should also document it by taking pictures with your cellphone, sending an email to a sibling or making a physical note in a journal about what happened. If you live far away, you may need to make arrangements with someone local who can follow up on the situation directly.
It is important that you try to record as much information as possible regarding your loved one’s care if you believe that nursing home neglect has taken place. This will help your chances of being successful when making a legal claim for elder abuse in Michigan.
If you believe that your loved ones are a result of negligence, contact the experienced Southfield nursing home neglect lawyers at Lipton Law for a free consultation.
It is also wise to sit down with an attorney, who can help you negotiate an improve standard of care or make it easier for you to transfer your loved one to a new facility and take action against the facility that failed to provide adequate care. We offer consultations regarding medical malpractice, doctor malpractice, and even nursing negligence.