When a loved one moves into a nursing home, emotions can run high. From concern about their wellbeing, to the anticipation of challenges that come with a change to their normal routine, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. For many families, elderly relatives go on to receive the care and attention they deserve in these specialist facilities, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and you should always look out for one of the telltale signs of neglect – bed sores.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing why bed sores are a clear sign of nursing home neglect, and helping you take the first step to hold a nursing home accountable.
What are Bed Sores?
Bed sores, sometimes known as pressure ulcers, are painful skin lesions that develop when continuous pressure or friction damages the skin and underlying tissues. They typically occur where the body’s weight rests on bony areas like the heels, hips, tailbone and elbows, and these sores can progress rapidly through four stages:
- Stage 1 sores are superficial, affecting only the outer layer of the skin, so they can be treated easily if caught early.
- Stage 2 pressure sores are those where the top layer of skin, as well as part of the underlying layer, are damaged – these wounds might look like an abrasion or blister.
- Stage 3 sores are more prone to infection, as at this stage there is more significant damage which can extend through the full thickness of the skin and into the fatty tissue beneath.
- Stage 4 pressure sores are the most severe, with damage so deep that muscle and even bone can be affected.
Why Are Elderly Residents More Susceptible to Bed Sores?
Unfortunately, nursing homes can be a hotspot for bed sores, as elderly residents are particularly susceptible to these painful lesions. As we age, our skin tends to be thinner and less elastic, making it far more vulnerable to damage, and many elderly residents have reduced mobility which dramatically increases the pressure on certain areas of their bodies.
Can Bed Sores be Prevented?
The good news is that with proper care, bed sores can often be prevented. Nursing homes have a responsibility to implement preventative measures, like regularly repositioning residents and keeping their skin clean and dry. Nurses can even use pressure-relieving devices if a resident is particularly vulnerable to sores.
So, if your family member is suffering from a bed sore, this could be a sign of neglect.
What Are the Legal Implications of Nursing Home Neglect?
Because bed sores are preventable, neglect that leads to this condition is enraging, and heartbreaking for family members who want to do right by their loved one. When nursing home neglect does lead to the development of bed sores, perhaps due to understaffing or inadequate training, it can have serious legal implications. Families have the right to pursue legal action if they believe their loved one has suffered from neglect, and successful legal cases not only hold the facility accountable, but can also provide compensation to cover medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.
Bed sores are more than just skin deep – they are glaring signs of neglect in nursing homes. By recognizing the link between bed sores and neglect and following up with legal action to hold a nursing home responsible, you can better protect your elderly relatives and ensure they get the care and respect they deserve in their later years.
If your loved one has suffered from neglect at the hands of their nursing home, here at the Cassisi Law firm we can help.
Visit our offices at 10208 101st Ave Ozone Park, NY 11416.
Call us now for a free consultation on (718) 441-5050.