Next in our nursing home blog series is this article on how nursing home neglect can cause serious bed sores and pressure ulcers in the resident’s skin, resulting in serious pain, suffering, and even death if sufficient interventions are not taken to treat infections.

What are bed sores?

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed-sores, are injuries to the skin and tissues from prolonged pressure, such as laying in the same spot or position for an extended time. Bed-sores can be very difficult to treat, and the best course of action is to create an environment which prevents getting bed sores in the first place.

There are four stages of bed sores, ranging from Stage I to Stage IV, where the sore is so deep there may be exposed bones, tendons and ligaments.

Are Bedsores preventable?

Generally, yes, with exceptions. Most experts agree that bed sores can be prevented if the proper measures are taken. But it all starts with assessing the current patient’s risk for bed sores.

A primary nursing responsibility is the identification of the patients at-risk for the development of pressure ulcers. 1  Some patients are high-risk for bed-sores based on their physical or medical condition.

Once a person has been identified as being at-risk for pressure ulcer development, prevention strategies should be implemented.2 Hospitals and nursing homes should take action to prevent pressure ulcers, because prevention is the best treatment for bed sores.

It cannot be stressed enough that facilities must do everything possible to prevent pressure ulcers before they develop.

What actions must be taken by the Nursing Home or Hospital once a patient has bed sores?

As soon as the nursing facility has identified a pressure ulcer wound, the nursing staff should take immediate action:

  1. Document the wound. Simply put, first document it, and put it in the file.  This allows others to know the site and history of the wound. Proper documentation should including noting the location and size, and measurements should be taken.
  2. Document interventions to prevent worsening of the wound and occurrence of new wounds.
  3. Treat the wounds.
  4. Assess and take measurements to see if these actions are making progress or not.

Hospitals and Nursing homes should turn those patients frequently to prevent the occurrence and worsening of bed sores. Most experts would agree that high-risk patients should be turned every two hours.

Pressure reducing devices can also be used in the patients bed, but devices are no substitute for frequent turning and moving.

Acute Intervention for treatment of pressure ulcers

The care of the patient with pressure ulcers requires support measures of the whole body, including proper nutrition, pain management, control of other medical conditions, as all of these factors can affect the patient’s experience with bed sores.

Can you sue the Hospital or Nursing Home for bedsores in Oklahoma?

Yes, if the bedsores were the result of the hospital’s or nursing home’s negligence.

As explained above, the first step that any medical facility should be to document the wound. Failure to document the initial identification, treatment, and progression of the wound is negligence. Ask yourself: if the facility is sloppy with their records, how do we know they aren’t giving sloppy care?

If the staff simply neglected to do their job and allowed the bed sores to develop, then courts may hold the hospital or nursing liable. However, to successfully bring a lawsuit against the nursing home or hospital in Oklahoma, you will need evidence as well as medical experts willing to testify on your behalf.

What if a nursing home says the bed-sores were unavoidable?

There is a growing consensus in the medical community that under certain conditions bedsores are just unavoidable, and cannot be prevented by the nursing home or hospital staff. Certain medical conditions can exacerbate existing sores or cause the body. Therefore, how do you know whether the nursing home or hospital is correct in their assertion that the bed sores were unpreventable?

The answer is you do not. And neither do I. These claims must be reviewed by a neutral, third party medical expert.

It is crucial to the success of your lawsuit to have your case evaluated by a knowledgeable bed sores expert and nursing home attorney before bringing suit. However, I can help you with that.

Free Case Review by Oklahoma Bedsores Attorney. Call (405) 701-6016 to get help now!

If you have any questions about bedsores or nursing home/hospital negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer free consultations to any one who wants to talk to us. We also will screen your case, evaluate all legal issues, and get back with you in a timely manner, all free of charge. Call (405) 701-6016 to contact Travis directly. If you would just like to schedule an appoint, send an email to assistant@travischarlessmith.com

Citations:

  1. Lewis, Dirksen, et al. Medical Surgical Nursing, 8th Ed. (2011), p. 201.
  2. Id.
  3. Id. See also, Aiello E. A., Lyder C. H. Nursing, 37:36 (2007).
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