Elderly residents of nursing homes often remain confined to their beds or wheelchairs. Without proper monitoring, these residents may develop bedsores that medical professionals refer to as pressure sores. Unfortunately, almost one-fourth of all nursing home residents suffer from bedsores at some point in their stay, according to a study on pressure ulcers in the nursing home in the Annals of Internal Medicine. When caregivers catch bedsores early enough, they may only cause minor inconveniences and little pain. When caregivers leave them untreated, they can turn into a life-threatening medical condition. If your elderly loved one suffered from bedsores as a resident in a nursing home, contact a Forest View bedsores lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your loved one’s legal rights.
Development of Bedsores
Nursing home staff and caregivers should monitor all elderly residents and reposition them on a consistent basis in order to prevent the development of severe bedsores. If an elderly resident continues to place their body weight on that area without any movement or repositioning, bedsores can worsen into more severe stages of the condition. If a nursing home resident presents any symptoms past stage I, an attending physician should treat them immediately. The stages of bedsores and their coordinating symptoms, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, are below:
Symptoms of the first stage of a bedsore can range from simple redness at a particular point of pressure to darker reddish areas. No open wounds, serious damage, or significant pain occurs at this stage, and the bedsore can resolve within a day or two if the resident relieves the pressure from the area through repositioning.
The second stage will have more evidence of a wound that may appear reddish or pink in color. This stage is not life-threatening; however, it is a critical stage due to the fact that a physician can easily treat a bedsore at this stage in several days. Nursing home residents should never have a bedsore that develops past this stage. Stage II bedsores will never have any dead tissue in them; thus, they remain treatable.
Stage III represents a more serious bedsore, and negligent treatment from the nursing home staff may result in a resident reaching this stage. This stage will have the wound fully open and include loss of tissue. In some cases, the wound may be so deep that you can see fat through it. If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home that has this type of bedsore, they should seek medical treatment immediately, and you should consider if your loved one suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect.
This very serious stage of bedsore requires immediate medical intervention. Wounds at this stage are so deep that oftentimes bones, muscles, or tendons remain visible. The wound causes extreme pain and destroys much of the tissue. In some cases, these serious wounds can take weeks or months to heal. In other cases, Stage IV bedsores can lead to other life-threatening medical conditions such as sepsis or cancer. In many cases, death can occur if bedsores reach this stage. If your elderly loved one develops Stage IV bedsores, you should seriously consider if they suffered from neglect or abuse as a resident of their nursing home and immediately remove them from the facility. You may also consult a Forest View bedsores lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your next steps. Call us.
Bedsores in Nursing Homes
Elderly residents rely on the nursing home staff to help them change positions so that bedsores do not progress to serious life-threatening issues.
Elderly nursing home residents may also suffer from additional issues that make them more susceptible to bedsores, including:
- An overall impaired blood flow, bowel or bladder incontinence (wet areas tend to develop bedsores more frequently).
- Cognitive impairment (the inability to understand that they need repositioning).
- Any type of malnutrition or dehydration (lack of water or nutrition often leads to bedsores).
Oftentimes, the families of elderly loved ones place them in nursing homes because they need constant monitoring and repositioning. Without vigilant care, these nursing home residents may suffer a whole host of medical issues, including serious and life-threatening bedsores.
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Duty of Nursing Homes
Caregivers in nursing homes have a responsibility and obligation to ensure that none of their elderly residents ever develop severe bedsores that need hospitalization or other serious medical intervention. Very simple steps that caregivers can take on a daily basis will prevent any of their residents from developing serious Stage III or Stage IV bedsores. Some of the precautions that nursing homes should take on a daily basis for all of their residents include the following:
- For any bedridden or wheelchair-bound resident, the nursing home should frequently shift their weight at a minimum of every two hours, which represents the amount of time it takes for bedsores to begin to develop.
- Caregivers should remind any resident that has the physical ability to lift themselves and move their weight to do so, as they may have dementia or other cognitive challenges that make them unable to remember to reposition themselves.
- Caregivers should always elevate beds to prevent the development of bedsores for those residents confined to their beds.
- Caregivers should constantly monitor the skin of elderly residents. If any resident has incontinence or bowel issues, caregivers should check them frequently, as wetness encourages the development of bedsores.
- When appropriate, residents should receive specialized wheelchairs, pillows, cushions, or mattresses developed to prevent bedsores.
- Caregivers should administer lotions and talcum powders that can prevent bedsores to elderly residents that suffer from bedsores due to friction issues.
- The nursing home staff should change bedding frequently in order to ensure dry and clean conditions for their elderly residents, which also assists in the prevention of bedsores.
Forest View Bedsores Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Consider the Benefits of a Forest View Bedsores Lawyer
If you discover that your elderly loved one developed serious bedsores as a resident in a nursing home, your loved one likely suffered from some sort of nursing home neglect. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine how to ensure your elderly loved one’s legal rights and learn how you can receive compensation for any medical bills or pain and suffering your elderly loved one experienced due to their bedsores.