Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are expected to provide patients with the care they require. Each resident’s needs may be different but it is the responsibility of the provider to ensure that each person gets the care they require. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against a rehabilitative care facility alleging negligent care led to a resident’s injuries. The man suffered serious and painful sacral ulcers that required extensive medical treatment.
Sacral ulcers, also called decubitus ulcers, are pressure sores that are located on the tailbone. These ulcers form from continual rubbing of the area against the bedding materials. Pressure ulcers start with small but painful red marks that can quickly progress if not treated. The sores will break the skin and deepen, often causing an infection. These painful sores are most common on patients who are bedridden and have limited mobility. They are often unable to move about on their own.
Heightened Awareness May Prevent Ulcers
Patients who are at high risk for developing pressure ulcers require preventative care. They should be evaluated by their physician and a care plan should be implemented. In some cases a prophylactic sacral dressing could be helpful in preventing a sore from forming. Additionally, the patient must be repositioned regularly throughout the day. The patient should not be allowed to remain in the same position for more than a few hours at the most. The patient should be checked for bedsore formation daily.
Immediate Treatment Is Necessary
While pressure ulcers should not be allowed to form in the first place, if they do develop they must be evaluated and medically treated immediately. The most important step in the care of sacral ulcers is to prevent them from any more contact with sheets or other bedding. This requires consistent supervision and monitoring by care providers. Once formed, it is imperative that they be reviewed regularly to make sure that they do not worsen.
Medical Treatment for Pressure Ulcers
Medical treatment should be sought for any pressure ulcer, regardless of how small or insignificant it looks. The doctor will evaluate the ulcer and provide a course of treatment. Pressure ulcers progress and are categorized into four stages. Stage four ulcers are the worst type and often are infected and impact the tendons or bones. Ulcers should be treated with wound care and antibiotics before they progress to this state. Pressure ulcers of any type are almost always a sign of nursing home neglect.
Nursing Home Neglect
Pressure ulcers are a sign that the nursing home is not taking proper care of the residents. In this case, the man suffered severe pressure ulcers that worsened because of lack of immediate care. All too often, staff members are not aware of the ulcers and therefore they do not seek medical treatment for them. Nursing home staff members should be trained on how to identify pressure sores and how to prevent them from occurring. The man in this lawsuit recovered but is seeking compensation for his injuries and care caused by the neglectful care.
If you or a family member suffered a serious injury such as a pressure ulcer caused by nursing home neglect, contact Levin & Perconti for a consultation.
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