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Do Bedsores in Nursing Homes Warrant a Lawsuit?

What is a Bedsore?

A bedsore is a lesion on the skin resulting from prolonged or excessive pressure on the skin. Also referred to as a pressure ulcer, they are commonly found on bonier parts of the body such as the tailbone, hips, and heels. Bedsores are a serious problem among frail older adults, especially those who spend the majority of their time in bed or in a chair.

They are generally caused by prolonged pressure on one area of the body, but can also be caused by shear, which refers to two surfaces moving in the opposite direction. If the nursing home resident is being moved from one place to another, the skin and the underlying bone may move against each other, causing a bed sore. Thirdly, skin rubbing against bedding or clothing can cause bedsores because of damage to blood vessels.

Developing Bedsores in a Nursing Home

Bedsores that occur in a hospital or nursing home could be the result of neglect or abuse because the are easily preventable with the right care plan in place.

Nursing homes and hospitals are obligated by law to create and implement a “care plan” to prevent bedsores from appearing or worsening. This care plan should include frequent inspection and turning and repositioning residents to relieve pressure on the skin. There are pressure-relieving devices available to nurses such as beds, mattresses, and boots.

What To Do If Your Loved One Suffers Bedsores

If a loved one is a resident of a nursing home and has bedsores, there are steps you should immediately take, including:

  1. Demand immediate medical attention.
  2. Ask to speak to a supervisor about the care plan in place that should have prevented the bedsores: 
    1. What are bedsore risk assessment protocols? 
    2. What happens when someone is identified as high risk? 
    3. What team members care for at risk residents? 
    4. What is the procedure for making sure treatment plans are followed and effective?
  3. Follow up to make sure the protocols are being followed for proper treatment and future prevention.
  4. Monitor skin condition. If you notice any sign of neglect, alert the staff and carefully document your findings. Also check in on the person’s weight and general care on each visit.

Should You Consider a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Bedsores?

Patients in hospitals or nursing homes should not develop bedsores. If they do, the patient and their family may consider a nursing home abuse lawsuit to hold the institution accountable for physical, emotional, and financial damages.

You should document the situation as extensively as you can to establish if the bedsores were a result of negligence on the part of the nursing home. 

If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, speak with an experienced elder abuse attorney. The personal injury team at Dansky | Katz | Ringold has helped many families resolve their situation and get the compensation they deserve. We can review your case and answer your questions in a complimentary consultation. Call us toll free: 800-609-5755.