Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are a serious and unfortunately common occurrence among residents in nursing homes. The most significant risk factor of developing a bedsore is immobility. Many seniors are dependent on caregivers in order to move around or even roll over in bed. Bedsores are almost always preventable. Just the existence of one can indicate negligence. A South Carolina Nursing Home Lawyer will have experience in evaluating and advising you if your family member has developed pressure ulcers.
One quick piece of advice: You will need documentation. As for at least 6 months of medical records, record names of caretakers you deal with and take pictures of the injury so you are prepared with the nursing home tries to downplay the suffering.
Bedsores are caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin that results in damage to the underlying skin tissue. There are four stages of bedsores:
Stage I – Redness caused by pressure.
Stage II – Thinning of skin, like a blister or abrasion.
Stage III – Damage to the underlying tissue that appears as a deep crater or blister.
Stage IV – Full skin loss with extensive damage to the skin and underlying tissue, involving necrosis.
BEDSORE RISK FACTORS
When someone is first admitted to a nursing home, the staff should perform a full evaluation to determine any risk factors for developing a bedsore, such as:
- Inability to turn or reposition oneself.
- Poor nutrition and hydration.
- Altered level of consciousness.
- Medical condition that may cause weakening of the skin.
Having these risk factors does not excuse the nursing home if a bedsore develops, it only means the nursing home should provide additional care to prevent them. As an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, Andy Arnold can advise you on what to look for at your loved one’s nursing facility and what questions to ask his or her caregivers.
HOW TO PREVENT BEDSORES
To prevent the development of bedsores for an at-risk resident, there are many steps that should be taken, including:
- Repositioning the resident a minimum of every two hours.
- Inspection of the skin at least once daily.
- Reduce the elevation of the head of the bed to reduce sliding.
- Keep the skin dry and clean.
- Make sure the resident has proper nutrition, especially calorie and protein intake.
- Mobile activity when possible.
- Use of an air mattress or other specialized bed.
HEALING A BEDSORE
If despite all precaution a resident develops a bedsore, the nursing home has a responsibility to take an active and aggressive approach to healing the bedsore. The most important part of healing is early detection, which should happen during daily skin inspection.
After detection of a bedsore, a review of the resident’s charts should be made to identify what caused the bedsore. At that time, all caregivers (dietician, doctor, nurse and CNA) should be consulted to develop a care plan to promote healing of the bedsore.
An Experienced Bed Sores Attorney Can Help
Families of neglected patients / residents need a lawyer with litigation experience who can challenge the big law firms representing corporate nursing home organizations. If you need help pursuing a lawsuit for medical negligence, call Andy Arnold’s office at 864-242-4800.