When proper care is given, bed sores are easily prevented in residents of nursing homes.  The development of bed sores can be a powerful indicator that the resident is not being given the appropriate amount of attention or care they require, pointing to negligence on the part of the nursing home staff.

Studies indicate that nursing home residents develop bed sores at double the rate of hospital patients.  The reason for this is that nursing homes do not operate under the same guidelines as hospitals, allowing considerably less attention to be given to the elderly.  Hospitals have a strict nurse to patient ratio that ensures adequate care, while nursing homes are not held to the same standard.  As a result of this deficiency in staff, residents of nursing homes must wait a great deal longer to be checked on, cleaned and have their clothes and soiled linens changed.  Many elderly residents of nursing homes are no longer able to get out of bed or change their own clothing, which increases their need for regular care and attention.  When urine is present on the skin for a prolonged period of time, the skin becomes damaged and can quickly lead to bed sores.  Federal law clearly states that nursing homes must provide for their residents’ safety and well-being.  If a nursing home does not give their residents the attention and care required by law and a resident is injured or suffers health problems as a result, the nursing home may be liable for damages.

Bed Sore Development

The term ‘bed sore’ refers to skin or tissue that has been damaged as a result of prolonged exposure to pressure.  Developing when circulation is cut off to a portion of the body, they are typically found in patients who have been sitting or lying down in the same position for an extended period of time.  The presence of fluids, such as urine, can increase susceptibility to the development of a bed sore.  Bed sores might also be referred to as decubitus ulcers, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers.  Because bed sores are the result of a patient or resident remaining in one position for too long, nursing home staff members are expected to follow a specific protocol to keep them from developing.  Residents must be cleaned and periodically moved to ensure that skin is undamaged and that regular blood flow is not restricted.   When circulation is cut off from an area of the body, the tissue in that area begins to die.  Bed sores can be difficult to recover from and can lead to a variety of dangerous complications.  Untreated bed sores can lead to death.

If you have a family member who is in a nursing home, be sure to check regularly for bed sores and other signs of neglect.  If inadequate care or neglect is suspected, seek legal counsel.  For more information on bed sores, prevention, treatment and legal recourse, visit - www.bedsorefaq.com

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