One of the many reasons people opt for nursing homes is the claim that they offer skilled care around the clock. This is especially important for seniors who have poor mobility and are frail. However, the care actually delivered by some nursing homes is far from satisfactory. Many nursing home residents are the victims of neglect and abuse.
Many nursing home residents do not have the strength to move, which means that they lie in one position for a long time. When the nursing home staff does not move them regularly, they are likely to develop bedsores. Bedsores (also known as pressure sores) are lesions that result from the constant pressure placed on bony parts of the body for a long time. The constant pressure interferes with blood and oxygen circulation to the tissues in the area and causes the tissue to die.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 11% of residents in nursing homes experience at least one bedsore during their residency.
Bedsores can be a sign of neglect. It is therefore not surprising that federal regulations are strict about the documentation, prevention and treatment of bedsores.
The law requires nursing homes to identify residents at risk of developing bedsores and develop a care plan to prevent their development. Prevention may include frequent inspections and regularly turning or repositioning the resident. This will relieve pressure and improve circulation. Nursing homes are also required to invest in equipment to reduce the development of bedsores e.g. special beds, mattresses and heel protectors.
Bedsores can be classified based on their severity. Stage 1 and 2 bedsores can easily heal with conservative treatment. Cases that are more advanced may require more intensive treatment including:
- Mechanical treatment
- Enzymatic treatment
These treatments result in the removal of the dead, infected or damaged tissue. Reconstruction may be required in some serious cases. Recovery from this type of treatment is long and difficult.
Holding a Nursing Home Liable
Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? If she suffers from poor mobility, it is important to be vigilant about her condition. Check the condition of her skin as well as her body weight when you go to visit. If you spot signs of bedsores or other signs of neglect, be sure to alert the nursing staff or the physician attending to your loved one.
It is important to insist on the bedsores being documented and addressed. You should also ask to see your loved one’s records.
If a pattern of negligence can be established, get in touch with an experienced nursing home neglect attorney like Laurie Robbins. Although the law is complex when it comes to bed sores, attorney Robbins can help you fight for your loved one’s rights to proper care.