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Bedsores in Ohio Nursing Homes

Imagine your loved one living in a nursing home. Of course, you hope they are receiving the care and support they need. But what if, due to a lack of proper attention, they develop painful wounds known as bedsores? These serious injuries, also called pressure injuries or pressure ulcers, can cause immense suffering, and pose significant health risks.

In Ohio nursing homes, bedsores are a surprisingly common occurrence, affecting a significant percentage of residents. This is particularly concerning because bedsores are largely preventable with proper care. This blog post will delve into the dangers of bedsores, how they develop, and why their presence in a nursing home might indicate neglect. We’ll also explore your options if your loved one develops bedsores while under nursing home care.

Bedsores in Ohio Nursing Homes

How do Bedsores Develop?

Our skin relies on constant blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients, keeping it healthy and resilient. But when unrelieved pressure is applied to a specific area, particularly over bony prominences like the tailbone, heels, or elbows, this vital flow can become restricted. Think of it like a kinked garden hose; the water (blood) can’t reach its destination effectively. 

This lack of blood flow creates a domino effect. Skin cells starved of oxygen begin to die, and underlying tissues weaken. Over time, the constant pressure can lead to a breakdown of the skin, forming a painful bedsore.  Friction and moisture from sweat or incontinence can intensify the problem, accelerating the damage.  If left untreated, bedsores can worsen, progressing into deeper wounds that expose muscle and bone, increasing the risk of infection and other serious complications. 

Preventing Bedsores in Nursing Homes

The good news is that bedsores are largely preventable with a proactive approach to resident care.  Ohio nursing homes have a legal responsibility to implement measures that minimize the risk of pressure injuries. These measures should become a regular part of a resident’s care plan.

One of the most important preventative steps is frequent repositioning.  Residents with limited mobility need to be gently turned and shifted every two hours or so, ensuring pressure isn’t concentrated on any one area. Special support surfaces, like pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions, can also help distribute weight more evenly. 

Skin care is another key component of prevention.  Nursing home staff should regularly assess residents’ skin for any signs of redness or irritation, keeping it clean and dry.  Proper hydration and a nutritious diet rich in protein and vitamins are also essential, as they contribute to healthy skin and overall well-being.  By implementing these preventative measures, nursing homes can significantly reduce the risk of residents developing painful and debilitating bedsores.

Bedsores as a Sign of Neglect

Unfortunately, the presence of bedsores on a nursing home resident can sometimes be a red flag for neglect.  Federal regulations, established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), mandate that nursing homes develop and implement a comprehensive pressure injury prevention program. This program should outline specific protocols for resident assessment, repositioning schedules, skin care routines, and nutritional management.

When bedsores develop, it suggests that these preventative measures may not be followed consistently or adequately.  This lack of attention can be a sign of understaffing, inadequate training, or a disregard for resident safety.  The pain and potential complications associated with bedsores are entirely avoidable with proper care.  If a resident develops bedsores, it raises serious concerns about the quality of care they are receiving.

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Our Founding Partner, Allen Tittle, discusses Bedsores as a Sign of Neglect

What to Do If Your Loved One Has Bedsores

Discovering bedsores on your loved one in a nursing home can be a shocking and upsetting experience. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Act Immediately: First and foremost, address the issue with the nursing home staff right away. Express your concerns and document the bedsores, taking clear pictures with dates and timestamps.
  • Preserve Evidence: As expressed above, collect photos, videos, witnesses, and any other evidence you can at the scene of the nursing home.
  • File a Report: Report the nursing home to the Ohio Department of Health. You can file a report here.
  • Open Communication: Request a meeting with the nursing home administrator or director of nursing to discuss the resident’s care plan and how the bedsores developed. Ask about the steps they are taking to address the existing sores and prevent further ones.
  • Consider Legal Help: If you suspect neglect played a role in the development of the bedsores, or if you’re dissatisfied with the nursing home’s response, consulting with an Ohio nursing home neglect lawyer is a crucial step.  An attorney can investigate the situation, determine if there’s a case for neglect, and advocate for your loved one’s rights and well-being.

How a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help

  • Investigating the Case: An experienced Ohio nursing home lawyer will gather evidence including medical records, witness statements, nursing home policies, available photographs, and more to determine if the facility failed to meet their obligations to prevent bedsores.
  • Navigating the Legal System: A nursing home lawyer will know the exact next steps in your case, and how to proceed. Your lawyer should be willing to take your case to trial, if need be.
  • Seeking Compensation: A nursing home lawyer will help you determine and calculate how much you are owed, and ensure that every outstanding bill left is paid, and noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering, and mental anguish) are compensated.

Get the Guardians on Your Side

At Tittle & Perlmuter, we have helped negligently injured Ohio nursing home residents and their families recover millions and get justice. Our team of attorneys will help you understand the legal landscape of your case, and keep you updated every step of the way.

Get the Guardians on Your Side, and schedule a free strategy session to get the next steps in your case by calling us, or filling out the form below.