What are Bedsores?
Bedsores — also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers — develop when a prolonged period of physical inactivity causes damage to skin and the underlying tissue. People whose age or infirmity limits their daily movement are particularly susceptible, which is why nursing home residents are at a higher risk. Bedsores can be a telltale sign of nursing home neglect or abuse.
These injuries are especially distressing given how preventable they can be with proper, attentive care. To keep risk for serious injury low, a facility should help your loved one change positions often. They should ensure there is minimal friction between the patient’s skin and other surfaces. Staff should also keep the skin clean and dry and take steps to relieve pressure on vulnerable body parts.
But too often, nursing homes and similar facilities take shortcuts or pay too little attention, allowing pressure sores to appear and worsen, putting residents at peril for significant medical trauma. If you suspect a loved one is developing bedsores that may be the result of nursing home negligence or abuse, please contact the experienced nursing home neglect lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter.
What are the signs and symptoms of bedsores?
Bedsores often begin inconspicuously, but they can have very serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important for families and caretakers to know the warnings signs.
When these sores develop in bedridden individuals, they most commonly appear on pressure points like the back of the head and neck, shoulder blades, hips, backside, legs, ankles, and feet. People who use wheelchairs will often develop sores where their bodies rest against the equipment.
In their early stages, bedsores may be painful or itchy, with the skin reddened or discolored and not blanching (becoming light) when touched. The skin might also feel hotter or colder than surrounding areas.
As sores worsen, the skin breaks or forms an ulcer, leading to additional pain. They may become open wounds, resembling blisters or small craters. This exposes deeper layers of tissue to damage and potential infection. Eventually, the underlying muscle, tendons, joints, and bone can be vulnerable to injury. Treating these bedsores can become even more complicated if your loved one has a condition like diabetes or hypertension that impedes the usual healing process.
When are bedsores a sign of nursing home negligence or abuse?
If your loved one is suffering from bedsores at a nursing home, the injury could be the result of abuse or negligence. Such avoidable injuries can occur if the facility is providing substandard medical care. Insufficient training, slow responsiveness, sloppy organization, questionable hiring practices and other failures can all play a role. When from nursing home neglect causes bed sores, other symptoms may be present. These include dehydration and soiled sheets.
Staff should reposition individuals confined to a wheelchair or bed to aid circulation. This also helps relieve pressure. It is basic medical protocol. When a nursing home is not attentive in monitoring its residents, leaving them motionless for long periods of time, bedsores can develop. If staff ignores symptoms, it may reflect a pattern of apathy on the part of caregivers charged with ensuring the residents’ physical welfare.
If you see evidence of unmonitored, untreated bedsores, a swift and comprehensive investigation should follow. Your loved one legally deserves proper care. Any nursing home failing to provide it must be held accountable to the fullest extent.
What should I do if a loved one’s bedsores may be the result of nursing home negligence?
Bedsores are a very serious medical problem. They should not be taken lightly, nor should any negligence that causes them be ignored or excused. While it’s true that not every bedsore is preventable, sores you suspect could be the direct result of inadequate care deserve expert attention.
The lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter have experience when it comes to probing and prosecuting these cases, in the greater Cleveland area and throughout Ohio. It is imperative to deal with potential nursing home negligence from a position of legal knowledge, expertise, and strength.
Too often, our most elderly loved ones are at the greatest risk. Their injuries can go unnoticed and untreated for far too long. Your loved one has legal rights and protections. Make sure they’re respected. When it comes to giving seniors and the elderly the care they need, cutting corners is never justifiable. We hold any facility entrusted with caring for our most vulnerable loved ones to the highest standards — and we hold them responsible should the delivery of care not meet that threshold.
If you are concerned that a loved one may have bedsores due to nursing home abuse or negligence, please contact Tittle & Perlmuter. We have experts who can hold the liable parties accountable and ensure that your loved one receives compensation and justice. Consultations are always free, so call (216) 308-1522 today or reach out online.