No one wants to believe their loved ones are being mistreated while in the care of a nursing home. After all, the entire purpose of placing someone you care about in a nursing home is to ensure their needs will be cared for when you are unable to care for them yourself. However, far too many nursing homes are neglectful of their residents, and one of the surest signs that this is going on is the appearance of bed sores.
Bed sores, more formally known as pressure ulcers, are sores that appear on the skin in response to constant pressure on a single area, such as what occurs when someone is bedridden and unable to adjust their position in bed. In their initial stages, they appear as patches of skin that are red and hard to the touch. Additionally, pressing on the skin does not cause any discoloration, as it would normally.
If left untreated, bed sores will advance in severity, with open sores appearing on the skin. As the condition progresses, these sores can easily become infected, and they start to go deeper into the affected tissue, potentially even into the muscle and bone. If caught at its earliest stages, bed sores are relatively easy to treat, but as they advance in severity, they require more intensive medical treatment to heal. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to deal with the bed sores, and there is a risk of any infection potentially causing sepsis, which can be fatal.
Bed sores are primarily caused by continuous pressure on a specific area, such as from laying in bed without being turned and repositioned. Nursing homes with competently trained staff know this, which is why they are supposed to periodically adjust the position of bedridden residents to ensure bed sores do not develop. Thus, the development of bed sores is a reliable sign that the nursing home is not doing what they are supposed to do when it comes to treating their residents.
Additionally, bed sores can be aggravated by other factors that can arise when nursing home staff is being negligent. For example, if someone is dehydrated or malnourished, that can make bed sores develop more quickly and increase the likelihood of infection setting in. This could indicate that nursing home staff are not taking adequate steps to ensure their residents are fed or hydrated. Another contributor to bed sores is prolonged exposure to moisture, as might occur if a resident is left in soiled clothing or bedsheets.
If bed sores are appearing on a loved one’s body, you should also check for other signs of potential neglect. If they have been inexplicably losing weight, for example, that could be a sign they are not being fed regularly or properly. If they have unexplained bruises, scrapes, or cuts, that could be a sign that they have fallen out of bed, or fallen while walking somewhere, indicating they were not properly supported while moving from place to place. Soiled bed sheets and clothing are also a good sign of neglect, as nursing home residents are meant to be regularly cleaned and changed so they are not left in their own filth.
When nursing home staff are doing what they are supposed to do, bed sores are easily preventable problems, and when they are detected early, they are relatively easy to treat. Thus, the appearance of any bed sores is a reliable sign of potential negligence on the part of staff, and a good sign that your loved one is not receiving the care they need. If you see your loved one getting bed sores while in the care of a nursing home, you should contact an attorney with experience in nursing home neglect immediately.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to the negligent conduct of a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers call (516) 294-8282.