Bedsores are a serious health risk for older adults who are no longer able to move around independently. Also known as pressure sores, they may point to a decline in the quality of care a nursing home patient receives.
In Kentucky’s understaffed nursing homes, overworked caregivers may fail to deliver the attention each patient needs. Bedridden patients, especially those without other pains, may not know to ask for help with turning over. Laying for hours in the same position is likely to cause these bedsores to develop.
If your loved one developed bedsores because of neglect in the nursing home where they live, you may be able to seek compensation on their behalf. Our Louisville bedsores lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you investigate what led to your loved one’s injuries. We will then explain your options and initiate legal actions on behalf of your family to hold the liable parties accountable.
Contact us at (800) 842-6336 for a free and confidential case review.
Bedsores also refer to pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers. They are areas of damaged skin because of interrupted blood flow. As the name suggests, these wounds develop in areas of the skin that have experienced prolonged pressure for an extended period. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it can take just 2 to 3 hours of interrupted blood supply to the skin for bedsores to develop.
In the early stages, the skin starts breaking down where the pressure is applied. Once the skin breaks, the underlying tissue becomes exposed, and there is a high risk of infection. Residents who cannot move are more prone to bedsores. Bed-ridden or wheelchair-dependent nursing home residents often develop bedsores in the areas of the body that press continuously against a surface, such as the buttocks, back, heels, or sides.
Bedsores are preventable if the residents get turned regularly, especially those who cannot move on their own. If bedsores begin to develop, caregivers must monitor the patient and provide adequate care to prevent complications. Otherwise, it is not uncommon for poorly-managed bedsores to get infected. These infections can spread to the blood, leading to sepsis resulting in a resident’s untimely death.
Bedsores can happen to individuals of any age when paralyzed, comatose, restrained, sedated, or otherwise unable to move by themselves. A person can get bedsores while being treated for other medical conditions, either in a hospital or in a nursing home.
Even minimal but continuous pressure on the skin can cause sores to start developing. The areas of skin in contact with hard objects like beds, wheelchairs, splints, or casts are most prone. Pressure sores can also happen because of a poorly-fitting prosthetic device.
Pressure sores often occur on the areas of the body where bones are close to the surface of the skin. These are bony prominences, such as elbows, heels, ankles, hip bones, or tailbones. However, they can also occur on other parts of the body. Bedsores can cause significant pain and itching, but patients desensitized for other reasons may not feel the discomfort.
Complications with Healing Bedsores
Even the smallest bedsores may need a longer hospital stay until fully healed. Otherwise, improperly managed sores have the potential to increase in size, become infected, and lead to systemic infections. Underlying conditions may prolong the healing of bedsores.
Traction and friction can also cause pressure sores to develop. It can constrict blood flow and stretch the skin, making it thinner. For instance, pulling a patient across bed linens when repositioning can also cause or aggravate bedsores.
Excessive moisture, such as extreme sweating or incontinence, damages the skin’s protective layer, making these areas more prone to ulcers, as well. Dehydration and malnutrition also increase the chances of developing bedsores. They also slow down healing, should the sores develop.
For a free legal consultation with a Bedsores Lawyer serving Louisville, call (800) 842-6336
Stages of Bedsores
There are several stages of bedsores according to how much damage the soft tissue has suffered. Noticeable signs of bedsores appear around Stage III or IV. The Mayo Clinic outlines the following stages:
- Stage I – The skin is unbroken but starts to tinge pink or reddish-brown (hard to see on darker skin). The sore can be firm or soft, cooler or warmer than the rest of the body, and more tender than the surrounding skin.
- Stage II – Some skin loss in the form of blisters or abrasions is present. A pressure ulcer is visible but still shallow and appears pink to red.
- Stage III – Skin becomes worn away, deep to the fat layers, but you still cannot see underlying bones, tendons, or muscles.
- Stage IV – Skin completely wears away to expose underlying bones, muscles, or tendons.
Sometimes, the ulcer may form an eschar—a thick, crusty surface that protects the ulcer. The eschar makes it difficult to assess the stage of ulceration. Bedsores can also cause deep tissue injury, where the underlying tissue is more tender than the surrounding skin.
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Duties of Nursing Homes in Preventing Pressure Sores
Nursing facilities should assess the risks of certain patients developing bedsores and create care plans for those who are high-risk. This care plan should include the following:
- Repositioning the patient or resident frequently (every 1-2 hours)
- Monitoring the skin throughout the body
- Keeping the skin clean and dry
- Ensuring minimal pressure on the bony areas of the body
- Providing high-quality mattresses to alleviate pressure against the skin
- Controlling the potential to get infections
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Get Help from Your Louisville Bedsores Lawyer
Has your loved one developed painful and uncomfortable bedsores due to nursing home neglect? You can hold the responsible parties accountable for your loved one’s injuries. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, a Louisville bedsores lawyer who handles nursing home abuse cases can review your case and determine if it warrants compensation.
If you think your loved one suffered abuse or neglect leading to their injuries, call us at (800) 842-6336 for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation today.