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Bedsore FAQs

Nurse assisting a patient

You may have a lot of questions if you are worried that your loved one has developed bedsores due to a lack of proper care at his or her nursing home. This page addresses some of the concerns that frequently arise in a bedsore case.

WHAT IS A BEDSORE?

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines a pressure ulcer as a “localized damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device.” Pressure ulcers are also called bedsores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers.

HOW ARE BEDSORES CAUSED?

Bedsores occur when a person does not move from one position for an extended period of time. Staying in just one position can put “pressure on certain areas of the body.” This pressure “can reduce the blood supply to the skin and the tissues under the skin.” If a person doesn’t move around often enough, “the blood supply gets too low, [and] a sore may form.”

WHO IS AT RISK FOR BEDSORES?

Over 2.5 million people develop bedsores in the United States every year. These wounds can develop relatively quickly, in as little as two to three hours, according to Johns Hopkins. Anyone who stays in one position for a prolonged period of time can be at risk for developing a bedsore. Thus someone who is immobile, bedridden or in a coma can develop one if not properly taken care of. In addition, a person who cannot feel pain may also be at risk, as are those with “diabetes, circulation problems and malnutrition.”

HOW CAN BEDSORES BE PREVENTED?

According to Johns Hopkins, bedsores can be prevented by “inspecting the skin for areas of redness (the first sign of skin breakdown) every day with particular attention to bony areas.” In addition to this, changing the person’s position every two hours can help keep bedsores from forming as can using soft padding. For an individual in a wheelchair, soft padding can help prevent pressure ulcers, as can moving frequently. Johns Hopkins states that for a person “[s]itting upright and straight in a wheelchair, changing position every 15 minutes” is helpful. Good skin care and nutrition can also help with bedsores. These preventative care methods can also help prevent “existing sores from getting worse.” There also special mattresses that should be given to nursing home residents who are at risk to develop bedsores.

ARE BEDSORES A SIGN OF ELDER ABUSE?

Yes, bedsores can be a sign of elder abuse. If your loved one is a resident in a nursing home or other elder care facility, the staff should be providing them with the care and treatment that they require. For example, if your loved one is immobile and unable to move him or herself, a part of your loved one’s treatment would be to make sure that he or she is moved frequently, so as to prevent a bedsore from developing.

WHAT COMPLICATIONS CAN RESULT FROM BEDSORES?

A bedsore that is not properly treated can become infected. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the signs that a bedsore may be infected include “thick, yellow or green pus, a bad smell coming from the sore, and “redness or warmth around the sore.” In addition, if the sore is swollen or tender this can also be a sign of infection. If the infection spreads, other symptoms may also occur including: fever, weakness, rapid heartbeat, chills, and “[m]ental confusion or difficulty concentrating.” Complications can also include sepsis, cellulitis, and bone or joint infections, according to a Mayo Clinic report.

HOW CAN I CHECK FOR BEDSORES?

Bedsores occur in certain areas of the body, often in “bony parts of the body that don’t have much fat to pad them.” The lower back, heels and hips are a common place that bedsores can develop. These wounds can also occur on “the base of the spine (tail bone), the shoulder blades, the backs and sides of the knees, and the back of the head.”

There are four stages of bedsores. At the earliest stage, Stage I, “[t]he affected skin looks red and may feel warm to the touch. The area may also burn, hurt or itch. In people who have dark skin, the pressure sore may have a blue or purple tint.” At Stage 2 the sore will be painful and possibly discolored. It may be an open wound “that looks like an abrasion or a blister.” At Stage III the sore is even worse, taking on a “crater-like appearance due to increased damage to the tissue below the skin’s surface.” At Stage IV “[t]he skin and tissue is severely damaged, causing a large wound. Infection can occur at this stage. Muscles, bones, tendons and joints can be affected by stage 4 pressure sores.”

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’VE SPOTTED BEDSORES?

If you suspect your loved one has developed a bedsore, it is important to take them to see a doctor so that they can get the appropriate medical care that they need. If the sore has developed in the nursing home, the nursing staff and physician should be alerted immediately.

CAN I BRING A LAWSUIT IF A LOVED ONE HAS SUFFERED BEDSORES?

It depends. If the bedsore developed as a result of negligent treatment, then you may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit against the medical professionals person or facility responsible for the injury your loved one sustained. For example, if your loved one was immobile and not turned on a regular basis at the nursing home and developed a bedsore as a result, then you may have a claim against the nursing home for negligence.

WHO CAN BE NAMED IN A BEDSORE LAWSUIT?

The person or entity that can be named in a bedsore lawsuit will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Dalli & Marino, LLP has handled hundreds of cases involving elderly residents of nursing homes who suffer injuries such as bedsores, falls, dehydration, medication errors and sexual abuse. As a result, we have gained particular expertise in navigating these highly sensitive matters resulting in numerous successful verdicts and settlements. For example, Dalli & Marino LLP obtained a large jury verdict against a nursing home that failed to properly treat a resident’s bedsores over the course of several months. During the trial, Dalli & Marino LLP proved that the nursing home falsified medical records and his client was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do not let your loved one suffer bedsores without receiving compensation for their pain and suffering. Even if your loved one has passed away, a lawsuit can be brought on behalf of the estate to recover for the suffering that bedsores caused.

Contact An Elder Abuse Attorney

If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, either through neglect in a nursing home or another type of negligent care, please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Dalli & Marino, LLP. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the entire discipline, and, in cases and the law surrounding Bedsores, and are dedicated to helping our clients recover just compensation for their injuries. You can call our office today at 888 465-8790 or complete our online form.

 

Dalli & Marino – New York Bedsore Lawyers

Dalli & Marino, LLP is a premier nursing home negligence and elder abuse law firm in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Our team of attorneys is familiar with all major nursing home facilities in the New York metropolitan area and has been fighting for the rights of nursing home residents for over 20 years. Dalli & Marino has won millions of dollars for victims of nursing home negligence.

Lawyers Not Screeners

In addition to speaking to a live person whenever you call Dalli & Marino to discuss a nursing home abuse or negligence case, you’ll find that every case is screened by a lawyer, not a receptionist. Contact us and speak to a lawyer who can tell you if you have a case.

Focus

A firm must be experienced in the particulars of nursing home operations and applicable state and federal law to be (persuasively) successful at trial. Dalli & Marino, LLP is that law frm.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence in today’s environment requires a clear understanding of the rules, plus the possible role of electronic medical records/electronic health records (EMR/EHR) and expert witnesses.

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