A nursing home is expected to provide proper care of residents, and maintain their health and well-being. If a medical problem occurs, the staff is required to report the situation and seek medical attention. Unfortunately, that was not what allegedly happened to a woman who died in a nursing home. The woman was a resident of Glenwood Healthcare & Rehab when she died. The woman’s family has filed a lawsuit claiming that improper care led to wrongful death.
Decubitus Pressure Ulcer
Pressure ulcers are also called bedsores, or pressure sores. They develop mainly on people who are immobile or bedridden. Pressure ulcers are painful sores that appear on the skin in areas where the skin is in contact with bed linens. People who are immobile are unable to change positions while in bed, causing constant rubbing in the same places on the skin. The sores get red and may worsen, becoming infected. They most often develop on the heels and elbows, as well as the tailbone. Decubitus ulcers are those that are on the tailbone.
Stage IV Pressure Sores
The appearance of a pressure sore may not seem serious to most of us. But, to an elderly individual with a compromised immune system, the sore can be the first step in a series of health setbacks. Pressure sores are categorized by severity. Stage IV pressure sores are the worst category. These sores have broken the skin and have become infected. The woman in this case suffered from at least one stage IV pressure ulcer.
Infections Are Serious in the Elderly
Infections are quite common occurrences in people of all ages. However, infections in the elderly can be quite serious. The elderly often have compromised immune systems, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infections. When a pressure sore becomes infected, it is often very difficult to treat. Even with proper care, the infection could worsen and spread. If the infection is not quickly resolved it can progress to sepsis. The infection could then impact the bloodstream and the vital organs in the body.
Pressure Sores are Preventable
Pressure sores can and should be prevented. Prevention of pressure ulcers begins with providing adequate supervision and care. Patients who are immobile must be repositioned every few hours. This will help to reduce the risk of bedsores. Patients should be examined regularly because early treatment of bedsores can keep them under control.
Treatment Plans for Bedsores
A plan should be developed by the patient’s physician. The treatment plan will contain detailed information about how the sores should be cared for. For example, in the early stages, bedsores simply need to stay clean and dry. Bedsores that have broken the skin typically need regular care with both topical treatments and oral antibiotics. Monitoring must be done daily, and if any changes are noted, the patient should be seen by a doctor.
The presence of bedsores on nursing home patients is likely a sign of neglect. If your loved one suffered from pressure ulcers while under the care of a nursing facility, contact Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.
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