Nursing Home Bed Sores
In Stage I bed sores, skin remains intact, but is red and doesn’t lighten if touched. On those with dark skin, the area may appear discolored. The area may be painful and feel different from surrounding skin.
At Stage II, skin is visibly damaged and may resemble a basin-shaped, pink-colored wound or as a blister filled with fluid.
Stage III bed sores grow deep. The crater-shaped sore may reveal underlying fat or dead tissue. Damage can extend below the wound site.
At Stage IV, tissue loss is significant. Bone or muscle may be visible, along with dead tissue. Damage may extend deep below the surface.
Source: Mayo Clinic
When a nursing home resident is too ill or too weak to reposition themselves in bed, it is necessary for staff caregivers to turn the resident periodically. If that doesn’t happen, the resident is at risk for developing bed sores. Also called decubitis ulcers or pressure sores, bed sores are the result of prolonged contact between the bed mattress and bony parts of the body. The pressure of that contact rubs the skin until it becomes raw and open. Bed sores may signal the likelihood that a nursing home resident is suffering from neglect.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our nursing home neglect lawyers in Fort Myers, Naples, and Cape Coral know that no family wants to imagine that a beloved relative is lying in bed in a nursing home without frequent contact from healthcare workers. But we know that figures from the Kaiser Foundation report that nursing home residents in Florida receive an average of only 1.6 hours of care from licensed nurses daily. Total nursing staff hours amount to just over 4 and a half. That leaves almost 20 hours per day that a resident might be on his or her own. Our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys understand that bed sores can be a painful result of inadequate care.
Because Florida nursing homes care for more than 70,000 residents statewide and budget constraints have affected the health care industry as deeply as they have others, it is easy to see that understaffing in nursing facilities can be a real problem. In addition, our Naples and Fort Myers nursing home bed sore attorneys know that most nursing homes are run as for-profit businesses. That can add pressure on administrators to keep costs – such as salaries – down. Even when staffing levels appear sufficient, the level of training and experience that employees have (or don’t have) can directly affect the amount and quality of care residents receive.
Experience in handling nursing home neglect cases involving bed sores has taught the Fort Myers and Cape Coral personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at our firm that sores typically form on elbows, buttocks, hips, heels and other areas where the body lacks enough tissue to pad underlying boney areas. Knees, arms, shoulder blades and backs may also be common sites at risk for bed sores. Constant contact with wheelchair seats and mattresses puts pressure on tender skin, causing it to break down. Scrapes caused by friction against sheets and other materials add another risk for bed sores.
The Mayo Clinic points out that bed sores can rapidly develop and worsen. Naples and Fort Myers nursing home bed sore attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner know that serious complications can result. Mayo Clinic experts explain that these may include:
- Sepsis – a potentially lethal condition that can lead to organ failure.
- Bone and joint infections – these occur when infection from bed sores enters the bones. Damage may permanently affect joints and limbs.
- Cellulitis – this life-threatening infection of connective tissue in the skin can lead to sepsis and meningitis.
- Cancer – bed sores and other chronic wounds can become the site of an aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma that may necessitate surgery.
Fort Myers and Cape Coral personal injury attorneys at our firm know that successfully treating bed sores requires diligence on the part of medical staff. Nursing home residents must be repositioned regularly. Care may include removal of damaged skin, use of dressings and topical medications, antibiotic therapy, use of supports to relieve pressure on affected body parts, and other types of interventions. When bed sores become severe, surgical strategies may be required.
If you think that a loved one in a nursing home has developed a bed sore because of the facility’s negligence or because the care they received was substandard, call on the nursing home bed sore lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. Ask for a free evaluation of your loved one’s situation. You can rely on our years of experience for the knowledge and insights you need to determine if a problem exists and, if so, how best to ensure that your loved ones rights are protected and the quality health care they need is obtained. Our services are free of charge unless we recover monetary damages for you.
1-800-283-2900 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice