Nursing Home Abuse – The Hidden Danger of Bed Sores

For many different reasons you, or your loved ones, may need to be admitted to a nursing home for assisted living. Nursing home patients often are unable to ambulate or have limited ability to do so.  Therefore, patients may be restricted to their bed and dependent on the care provided by the nursing home staff.  If patients with ambulatory limitations are not properly cared for, they may develop bedsores, or pressure ulcers, due to the extended amount of time in one position.  The bedsores or ulcers are preventable if the nursing home and its staff take the appropriate steps to care for their patients.

The development of bedsores is not limited to a patient being in their bed – they may be left in their wheel chairs, on the community couch, or in a chair for an extended period of time.  To prevent the bedsores from developing, patients should not remain in such positions for an unreasonable amount of time.  If assistance is needed, nursing home staff should periodically assist the patients so they can walk or move around the facility, realign the patient’s position in bed, or reposition the patient in whatever location they remain.  Other steps may be taken to help prevent bedsores.

Common areas where bedsores and ulcers develop are the areas of the body where pressure is the most prevalent during an extended time.  For example, when patients are restricted to their bed, common sites of bedsores and ulcers include the lower back, buttocks, hips, elbows, and back of the head.  Early detection and preventative measures are important in the healing of bedsores.  Often, bedsores are categorized in four different stages:

  • Stage I: the bedsore is in its beginning stage. There may be some tenderness, and the sore will have some color change, typically red.
  • Stage II: the bedsore may form as an open wound or skin may wear away. At this point, the bedsore may further deepen and damage the skin.  The color of the bedsore will continue to redden or be a shade of pink.
  • Stage III: the bedsore will continue to deepen in the skin.  The loss of skin will continue and there may be other signs of deterioration.  A change of color due to the deterioration of skin is typical.
  • Stage IV: the bedsore is deep and at its most severe.  It may even have reached the muscle or bone of the affected area causing significant damage.

The further bedsores develop, the more difficult they become to treat and manage.  Bedsores are a serious issue for nursing home patients and while they present a serious health issue, they are preventable with proper care.  It is tragic to know that a loved one developed a bedsore which could have been prevented and resulted in serious harm or even death.

Should you or a loved one develop bedsore(s) while a patient of a nursing home, promptly consult with the attorneys at Tetzel Law to investigate your case. We have offices in Boston and Worcester and will set up a consultation free of charge.  Reach us today by contacting us online form, or at (617) 933-3858.