Bedsores (decubitus ulcers) often occur in nursing homes that neglect their residents. These injuries are usually a sign of larger abuse and neglect within a facility. Bedsores occur when a resident is stuck in the same position–typically in a bed or wheelchair—for too long or is in a prolonged unsanitary state. If a nursing home has loose rules about how often they change adult diapers, for example, a resident could develop bedsores.
The risks associated with bedsores extend beyond a lack of physical well-being. A resident who employees neglect enough to develop bedsores is likely suffering mental and emotional stress as well. When a bedsore develops, it’s a sign that the nursing home staff ignores or neglects your loved one for a long period of time. This type of treatment is considered nursing home abuse. If you or a loved one has suffered, contact our Kansas City bedsores attorneys for help with financial recovery.
How Bedsores Form
Bedsores are also referred to as pressure ulcers, since they develop from placing steady pressure on one area of the body for too long. Nursing home residents are most likely to develop bedsores over their tailbones, hips, elbows, or shoulder blades. If the staff keeps a resident completely immobile for 12 hours or more, the resident could suffer from bedsores.
When blood flow slows or stops due to an area of the body being compressed between the bone and the surface of the bed or wheelchair, the skin develops a wound called a bedsore. Oxygen and nutrients can’t reach the tissues, causing the surrounding skin to die. While evidence of a bedsore may not be immediate, it will become visible over several days or weeks.
If your loved one suffers from arthritis or an injury that makes it difficult to move, the nursing home staff needs to conduct simple exercises or motions with the resident until he or she is mobile again. Small amounts of physical therapy, such as massage or stretching, will reduce the risk of bedsores. Periodically turning the resident over on his or her side will generate blood flow to constricted areas enough to avoid a bedsore.
Residents who are diabetic or paraplegic with no sense of feeling in their feet are especially at risk of developing bedsores. These residents may not move their feet or legs for long periods of time and will develop sores on their heels. The nursing home staff should be aware of each resident’s physical limitations and take due care to prevent bedsores with personalized, individual attention. Anything less is neglect.
Why Bedsores Are Signs of Neglect
Bedsores are signs of neglect in a nursing home because they’re preventable with proper treatment and basic standards of care. The development of a bedsore might be the responsibility of an attending staff member, the medical professional on call, or the facility itself.
If the facility doesn’t maintain strict standards of health and sanitation, employees may not feel compelled to ensure the health of residents. Bedsores form the fastest when the skin is wet or dirty for a long period of time. Residents who are bedridden and dependent on adult diapers can develop bedsores easily if diapers and linens aren’t changed frequently. These bedsores can become infected and turn into a more serious health risk.
When nursing home employees neglect their duty to care for a resident who is at risk of developing a bedsore, it’s a sign of medical negligence. Employees are responsible for the health and well-being of residents, and failing in their duties to maintain a level of care makes them responsible for damages.
Do You Believe Your Loved One May Be Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you feel your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.