According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 3.3 million people living in approximately 16,000 nursing homes in the United States in 2013. That number translates to 1 in 7 individuals aged 65 and over. Unfortunately, some of these residents will experience some form of abuse or neglect during the time they spend living in these facilities.
Bed sore which are also called pressure ulcers or decubitis ulcers are one of the strongest signs of nursing home neglect and they are entirely preventable. Typically, a bed sore forms on a part of the body where the bone contacts the skin such as on the heel of the foot, elbow, shoulder and back of the head. A bedsore can develop anywhere on the skin if that area is subjected to long-term, consistent pressure. The CDC states that bed sores are categorized in the following stages which are determined by how deep and severe the sores are:
Stage 1 – The affected skin is red but there is no open sore. This type of bed sore will not heal when pressure is relieved.
Stage 2 – Some of the skin loss associated with the sore may become blistered or it may form a shallow hole.
Stage 3 – In this stage, the skin becomes thin wherein deeper layers of the skin are exposed. This type of bed sore will have a deep, crater-like appearance.
Stage 4 – In this stage which is the most severe, the skin tissue is lost wherein the underlying muscle or bone is exposed.
The CDC tells us that an estimated 11 percent of all residents living in nursing homes suffered some type of bed sore in 2013 with stage two being the most prevalent type.
The complications of bed sores include:
Sepsis – Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can lead to organ failure. It occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream through broken skin and is spread throughout the body.
Cellulitis – Cellulitis results from infected skin and connected soft tissues. The sufferer will feel severe pain at the site which is typically red and swollen.
Joint & Bone Infections – An untreated bedsore that becomes infected can worsen wherein the infection makes its way into the joints and bones. Infection of the joints which is called septic arthritis can do substantial damage to cartilage and tissue. Infection of the bone is called osteomyelitis and can result in a reduction of function of the affected joints and limbs. These types of infections are very serious and can easily lead to death.
Cancer – A non-healing bedsore can lead to squamous cell carcinoma which is a very aggressive type of cancer that often requires surgery.
What to Do If you Suspect Your Loved One is Being Neglected
Everyone who is responsible for the care of bedridden residents in nursing homes should receive education on the extreme dangers of bed sores. When someone is immobile, they have to be repositioned regularly in order to prevent bed sores from developing. Sadly, this basic act of proper care in one that is often neglected in many nursing homes that are inadequately staffed or which have some type of administrative issues. When a bedridden individual develops bedsores, that person’s life is grave danger as bedsore easily lead to infections and other serious medical conditions which can claim lives.
If you suspect that your loved one has been neglected because he or she suffers from bed sores, contact a California personal injury attorney without delay. Your attorney will know what evidence must be gathered in order to win your nursing home neglect case. You should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if:
- Your loved one has developed bed sores and was not given prompt treatment which may have made the condition much worse or even caused him or her to die.
- You feel that another type of neglect or abuse has taken place which may include malnutrition, dehydration or some type of injury that occurred because your loved one did not receive adequate supervision.
People living in nursing homes have put their trust and their lives in the hands of those who are paid to take complete care of them. When proper care is not provided, these residents face potentially life-threatening conditions. It can be very heartbreaking and infuriating to discover that someone you love who is living in a nursing home has developed bedsores as you too trusted that your loved one would be well cared for.
Bed sores and particularly Stage 3 and Stage 4, should never occur inside a nursing home. These types of serious bed sores are often the result of neglect which can include malnutrition, dehydration or the failure to examine the resident thoroughly and regularly.
Your personal injury attorney will leave no stone unturned in his or her attempt to get to the bottom of why your loved one suffers from bed sores. Your attorney will help you and your loved one get the justice and financial compensation you deserve. When you contact the team at Hogan Injury, our lawyers will provide you with the skill and experience needed to stop the neglect and to obtain justice. It is never advisable to try to file a California nursing home neglect claim on your own because these types of claims are aggressively defended by insurance companies. We provide a no fee guarantee wherein you don’t pay us a thing unless we win or settle your case.