Nursing Home Bedsores & Negligence Attorneys
The appearance of bedsores may indicate improper care.
Nursing homes in Florida are meant to be safe places for residents who cannot care for themselves. Unfortunately, as the elderly population of Florida continues to increase rapidly, cases of nursing home abuse and neglect become more prevalent. Even patients who are confined to a bed or wheelchair can suffer needless injuries such as bedsores. If you notice bedsores on a loved one or another resident, it may be a sign of abuse or neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect: Bedsores
Bedsores are also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, and these sores form as a result of skin and the underlying tissue becoming damaged due to prolonged pressure being placed on an area. The amount of pressure does not need to be excessive for a bed sore to form. These sores are most commonly found on patients who are bed-ridden or unable to get up and move freely on their own. As the patient is confined to his or her bed, pressure is applied to the contact points on his or her body, usually heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone. Bedsores often develop quickly when a patient is unable to change positions.
At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A., we have represented patients and family members of patients in nursing home lawsuits because we think care facilities should be held accountable for unnecessary injuries to their patients. Because bedsores are avoidable, the existence of these ulcers could point to more serious underlying issues, such as widespread neglect or abuse at the facility. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Gainesville are experienced in investigating these matters and fighting for compensation for the victims.
Symptoms Of Bedsores
There are four stages of bedsores based on the severity of the ulcers.
- Skin is unbroken but appears red or slightly discolored.
- The area may be painful, tender, firm or a different temperature compared with the skin surrounding the ulcer.
- The visible layer of skin, as well as underlying skin, is damaged or lost, resulting in a reddish or pink wound.
- The appearance of the ulcer may mimic a blister.
- The wound becomes deeper as skin layers are lost and fat is exposed.
- The bedsore takes on a crater-like appearance with a yellow-colored body, indicating dead tissue.
- A large-scale loss of tissue occurs, and the bedsore may expose bone, muscle or tendons.
- The bottom of the wound may become dark and crusted.
Although ulcers often follow these stages, it may be impossible to tell which stage a bedsore has reached. If the surface of the pressure sore is covered by discolored tissue, it may not be possible to see how deep the ulcer goes. If you suspect someone you know has a bedsore, you need to act quickly. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Gainesville for expert representation so that your loved one is no longer subjected to abusive conditions.
Common Areas Where Bedsores Form
For patients who are confined to their beds, bedsores often appear on:
- The sides or back of the head
- The rims of the ears
- The outside of the shoulders or the shoulder blades
- The hips, tailbone or lower back
- The ankles, heels and behind the knees
Patients who use a wheelchair will often present bedsores in the following areas:
- Buttocks or tailbone
- Shoulder blades and spine
- Areas of the arms and legs that rest on the wheelchair
Bedsores can be avoided in most cases by having a nurse, doctor or staff member rotate the patient regularly so that pressure cannot build on points of the body to the extent of causing tissue and skin damage. Severe pressure ulcers cannot be ignored, even if the staff overlook these symptoms. Get help for your loved right away by filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Causes Of Bedsores
Bedsores are caused by three distinct factors:
- Sustained Pressure. As mentioned, prolonged pressure, even small amounts of pressure, can result in a pressure ulcer or bedsore. The most common areas affected lack sufficient fat or muscle to create padding for a more even distribution of the pressure.
- Friction. Friction is caused when two surfaces are rubbed together. In nursing homes, patients can develop bedsores from their bodies dragging along a surface when they are moved. Even bed linens can cause friction sores, especially when the skin is damp.
- Shear. Shear happens when two surfaces are forced to move in opposite directions. For example, a surface moving against the skin may pull the skin with it, but underlying muscle and bone remain sedentary. This causes pressure points on the internal tissue as well as on the skin.
Bedsore Lawsuits In Gainesville
If you find that a loved one, or a fellow patient, has a bedsore, you’ll want to act quickly. Nursing home facilities always deny wrongdoing, but we at Warner, Sechrest & Butts know that bedsores can be prevented. And investigating these claims several days, weeks or months later doesn’t always produce the desired results. If you want to file a nursing home lawsuit, there are a few actions you can do to strengthen your case.
- Take pictures of the bedsores and note the date.
- Ask the nursing home for performance reports of staff members who are responsible for the care of the patient. It can also help to inquire about the process of care for the patient.
- Request a list of violations or warnings the nursing home has received in the past.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys can help you with this process, including obtaining information about former claims or abuse allegations lodged against the nursing home. Neglect and abuse cannot be tolerated in Florida, especially as the population of elderly residents grows. It is important to maintain higher standards for living in nursing homes, and we think it’s important to hold accountable those responsible for abuse and neglect. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your case.