Nursing home safety is of great concern, especially to those with loved ones residing there. When we choose a care center for our elderly parent we visit the location, review the brochure, and speak with the manager. Yet as careful as we may be, nursing home neglect can still happen. A recent lawsuit was filed against a nursing home alleging negligence in the death of a relative. The man died as a result of neglectful care after developing pressure ulcers that ultimately led to his death. The lawsuit claims that the nursing home did not provide adequate supervision.
Development of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, are painful sores that develop on the areas of skin that come into constant contact with bedding or other items. They are most often the result of inadequate repositioning of a bedridden patient. When a person is not able to move around in bed by themselves they must be moved by care providers. The failure to do so could cause pressure ulcers to form.
Pressure Ulcer Stages
Pressure ulcers begin as small red marks that are often on the heels, elbows, and tailbone. Pressure ulcers are categorized in four stages. Stage I sores are red marks, but they can be painful and may be warm to the touch. Stage II sores are becoming larger and deeper in size. Stage III sores may have broken skin from repeated rubbing. Stage IV sores are the worst and they are often quite deep, possibly all the way to the tendons or bones. As sores worsen they can become infected.
Unfortunately, infections can happen very rapidly once the skin opens up. Older individuals and those with compromised immune systems may not be able to fight infections as easily as they should. Infections of this type must be quickly treated and they could spread into the bloodstream. If this occurs, the person is in danger and requires emergency medical treatment.
Signs of Neglect
Any appearance of pressure ulcers is usually a sign of neglect. The staff is not properly monitoring the patient and has not adequately repositioned him in a timely manner. Those who are bedridden should be repositioned at least every couple of hours to avoid the development of bedsores. Every patient is different and therefore the caregivers need to constantly monitor them to ensure that sores are not beginning to form. Once they do form, pressure ulcers can be very difficult to treat and can worsen very quickly.
Failure to Treat Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers should not be allowed to form, but if they do a treatment plan is needed immediately. The caregivers must examine the patient regularly to determine if a pressure sore is developing. If a sore is noted it should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor as soon as possible. The failure to quickly diagnose and properly treat pressure sores is why they worsen and cause medical harm to patients, as they did in this instance.
If your loved one suffered from pressure ulcers in a nursing home, call the experienced lawyers at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation today.
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