Sacral ulcers (also called bedsores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure sores) can cause significant health issues. Residents are at risk of developing sacral ulcers in nursing homes if their decreased mobility causes them to spend long periods in one place without changing position.
If neglect or abuse at a nursing home leads to a resident developing a sacral ulcer, the facility is liable for the harm. A lawyer who handles cases against nursing homes can help you take action against the facility. Call the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to get started. We can evaluate your claim at no cost, and there is no obligation.
An Overview of Sacral Ulcers
Sacral ulcers are damage to the skin and the tissue under the skin because of pressure on the area for too long a period. When a person spends much of his time in a bed or chair, he is at risk of developing sacral ulcers.
As the individual sits or lies without changing position, the skin and underlying tissue get squeezed between the person’s bones and the surface on which he is sitting or lying. When the head of a bed gets elevated, and the patient slides or slumps down in the bed, the skin can get pulled over the bones and cause sacral ulcers. Another cause of sacral ulcers is skin rubbing against bedding or clothing.
The pressure decreases the amount of blood flow to the area. The lack of oxygen and nutrients causes the skin and tissues to break down. Eventually, the tissue can die.
The Mayo Clinic says the most common locations for sacral ulcers are the:
- Backs of the arms and legs
- Hips, lower back, or buttocks
- Back of the head
- Shoulder blades
- Backs of the knees
Nursing homes know that many residents are at risk of developing bedsores because of mobility issues. These facilities should develop and follow protocols to:
- Prevent the development of sacral ulcers
- Detect sacral ulcers early
- Treat these wounds right away
- Prevent future sacral ulcers
Failure to follow these steps every day can subject the nursing home to bedsore liability.
Signs of Bedsores
If your spouse or parent who lives in a nursing home complains of any tenderness, examine the area at once. Bedsores develop quickly. Look for these indications of a sacral ulcer:
- Swelling or inflammation
- A difference in temperature (warmer or cooler) between the tender area and the area around it
- Changes in the texture or color of the skin in the affected area
- Drainage that looks like pus
Get the nurse to look at the area right away if there are these indications.
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Treatment of Pressure Ulcers
Sacral ulcers should get cleaned with a gentle cleanser and water. The dressing must be changed regularly. The wound should remain covered to keep the surface clean and moist. If any of the tissue dies, the doctor will have to remove it, often by cutting out the dead tissue.
In addition to being painful, the removal of dead tissue can limit function and cause disfigurement. On the other hand, prompt removal of the damaged tissue can sometimes prevent an amputation.
Causes of Sacral Ulcers in Nursing Homes
The facility can be liable to the development of sacral ulcers, such as:
- Failure to provide adequate personal hygiene for the resident, including daily bathing and moisturizing
- Improper skin care – regular moisturizing to keep skin healthy and hydrated
- Failure to follow pressure ulcer prevention protocols, like turning the resident at scheduled intervals, for example, from back to the right side
- Failure to provide special bedding (cushions) for residents at risk of developing bedsores
- Failure to treat the resident at the first sign of sacral ulcers
All staff members who have direct contact with residents should have training on how to prevent, recognize, and treat sacral ulcers.
Complications of Bed Sores
Immediate treatment of bedsores can help to prevent complications, but even with prompt medical care, some sacral ulcers never heal. Because of this potential outcome, nursing homes must take every reasonable measure to prevent the development of these wounds.
A person with pressure sores can experience these complications:
- One kind of squamous cell carcinoma can develop from wounds that last a long time and do not heal.
- Infections in bones and joints.
- Cellulitis, which can lead to amputation or death.
All sacral ulcers should be taken seriously, as any of these wounds could suddenly develop life-threatening complications.
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Nursing Home Negligence Resulting in Sacral Ulcers
Sacral ulcers are preventable by following appropriate patient care and protocols. When neglect or abuse on the part of the nursing home causes a resident to develop sacral ulcers in nursing homes, the person can experience considerable discomfort and a long healing process. The nursing home can be liable for the following:
This category can include things like the ambulance, hospital, surgery, skin grafts, doctors, physical therapy, blood tests, prescription drugs, and ongoing wound care. The nursing home can be liable for the reasonable cost of the treatment your loved one needed to treat the sacral ulcers.
The losses that do not tend to come with bills or receipts in claims against nursing homes can include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of mobility
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
Every case is different, so we cannot determine how much compensation you might be able to pursue until we talk with you and investigate your claim.
How a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help with Your Claim
A nursing facility is liable when a resident develops sacral ulcers because of neglect or abuse. Taking on a nursing home can be a daunting task because you are challenging the facility and its liability insurance carrier. The insurer has teams of professionals whose job is to find ways to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. For a fair chance at justice, it can be a smart decision to work with a lawyer.
Do not wait too long to take action against the facility. There is a deadline for filing these lawsuits. If you miss the deadline, you can lose the right to seek monetary compensation.
We handle cases against nursing homes all over the United States. You do not have to pay us legal fees until you win. Our legal fees will come out of the settlement proceeds or court awards.
Call the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation. We can evaluate your situation at no cost to you. There is no obligation.