Our associates are experienced in assisting families with bedsore & falls issues due to the neglect of nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. Our senior associate has even served as President of the New York State Plaintiff’s Nursing Home Litigation Group. If you our a loved one has been affected by a bedsore, call us at 347-766-2685 to set up a free consultation.
Bedsores: Nursing Neglect & Abuse
As elder attorneys, we are called upon to deal with various issues affecting seniors. One important issue is the prevention of bedsores when a senior goes into a hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation center. While these facilities are designed to supposed to keep our loved ones safe, they sometimes allow bedsores to develop. Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers, are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Risk Factors for Bedsores
The people most at risk of bedsores are those with a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions or those who spend most of their time in a bed or chair which, in many cases, are the elderly. Additional risk factors include people who lack sensory perception, have poor nutrition and hydration, and those with medical conditions affecting blood flow.
Family members and caretakers must stay vigilant since bedsores can develop very quickly. While most sores heal with treatment, some never heal completely, while others may be life threatening or even fatal. There are generally four stages of bedsores with each stage being progressively and qualitatively worse than the prior stage. It is important to spot the beginning signs of a bedsore and address it immediately, before it progresses and becomes potentially incurable.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines with recommendations for best practice for the prevention of pressure ulcers. NICE recommends that all people who are admitted to hospital, rehab facility or nursing home as well as seniors who are receiving care at home, should be assessed for their risk of developing a bed sore/pressure ulcer. This is usually performed by a healthcare professional (typically a nurse). This assessment should be reviewed regularly because the resident/patient’s situation may change. There are various pressure ulcer risk assessment scales that may be used which look at factors such as diet, mobility, continence, consciousness level and any underlying illnesses that the resident/patient may have. If the resident/patient is assessed and found to be at increased risk then one or more of the following may be suggested: change position as much as possible, make sure to maintain a proper diet and remain hydrated eat and drink the right things, use pressure-relieving devices and make regular checks of the skin. A healthcare professional should check skin regularly to look for any signs of a pressure ulcer, and family members and patients should ask about any areas on the body that they are concerned about.
Liability of Nursing Homes for Bedsores
In New York State, Hospitals and nursing homes may be held responsible for actionable negligence under Public Health Law 2801-d, and may be liable to the patient for injuries suffered as a result of any actionable negligence. What is defined as actionable negligence is a legal determination, and should be discussed with an experienced bed sore attorney. If you suspect a love one may have experienced neglect, you should contact a bedsore malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.