BEDSORES & HYGIENE
A chronic hazard for bedridden persons in hospitals and nursing homes is presented by pressure ulcers (decubitus), also known as bedsores. These are caused by sustained pressure between the bone and skin and are a common risk for those who suffer from immobility or paralysis.
If you have observed untreated bedsores in an elderly or incapacitated member of your family during a recent nursing home visit, contact the Massachusetts patient neglect lawyers at Kenney & Conley today for a free consultation, toll free at (781) 848-9891.
The Severity of Bedsores
Pressure ulcers are classed in terms of severity from Stage I (the mildest) to Stage IV (the most serious). At Stage II, when the wound appears much like a scrape or blister, bedsores begin to represent serious health risks, and indicate the likelihood of even further damage to the tissue beneath the skin. As the pressure from bones restricts the flow of blood to the skin, the cells in the various skin layers begin to die off, which presents a set of health risks by itself as a breeding ground for bacteria. At Stage IV, all layers of the skin are damaged or destroyed, and the wound penetrates into the muscle or bone underneath.
The risk of infection due to the proliferation of dead skin and tissue cells can cause serious or even fatal illness to the nursing home patient whose bedsores have been neglected. If the patient is incontinent and receives insufficient hygienic assistance, the danger of sepsis or necrosis is even more pronounced.
Stage I and II pressure ulcers respond well to treatment, but Stage IV decubitus might never heal. The key is to remove the damaged skin and tissue as quickly as possible. In advanced cases, surgical debridement is often the most effective approach to containing the damage and preventing infection.
Bedsores Due to Nursing Home Neglect
Severe pressure ulcers can be taken as a clear indication of negligent treatment and inadequate patient care in a nursing home or other institution. The condition can be prevented by regular changes of position to relieve stress between the bone and skin. Turning the patient over in bed at regular intervals alone will go far to prevent pressure ulcers, along with keeping the patient clean. Proper nutrition is also essential to promoting recovery from the condition.
If a nursing home fails to take reasonable steps to prevent or at least treat bedsores, it can be held liable for damages and injuries sustained by the patient. While these legal proceeding may become complex, if you or a family member have suffered such injuries, you have a right to compensation. An experienced legal team like that of Kenney & Conley will be able to assist you in assembling a full case that provides your best chance for receiving restitution.