It can be a very difficult decision for anyone to place a loved one in a nursing home. But there comes a point in most people’s lives where they are no longer able to care for themselves. In these situations, a nursing home offers the care and safety an older person needs. Most of the time, a nursing home does a good job of caring for its residents, but occasionally nursing home negligence occurs. One sign of potential nursing home negligence is bedsores.
What are bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are injuries to underlying skin tissue as the result of prolonged pressure. They usually develop on bony areas of the body where there is little movement, such as the buttocks, tailbone, hips, lower back, ankles, and heels.
Risk factors for bedsores
There are many risk factors for bedsores that are common in nursing home residents. These include:
- Prolonged immobility
- Fecal or urinary incontinence
- Diminished cognitive or mental ability
- Auto-immune or blood-clotting disorders
There are four stages of bedsores.
- Stage 1: The area looks red and feels warm. A person may complain that it burns or itches.
- Stage 2: The area looks more damaged and may have an open sore. The person may complain of significant pain, and the skin around the wound may be discolored.
- Stage 3: The area has a crater-like appearance due to the damage that has occurred below the skin’s surface.
- Stage 4: The area is severely damaged, and a large wound can be seen. Infection is a serious risk, and tendons, muscles, joints, and bones can be involved.
Once a bedsore develops, it can take months or even years to heal. It can also become infected, resulting in mental confusion, cellulitis, sepsis, or amputation. If a family believes their loved one suffered from serious bedsores because of nursing home negligence, they may want to seek legal counsel. An attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the injury and help the family understand what happened. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and other damages.