Bedsore Basics: What You Need to Know About Nursing Home Neglect

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Seniors living in South Carolina nursing homes do not give up their individual rights and Constitutional protections just by living in a facility. Actually, quite the opposite is true. Federal and state laws provide specific protections to ensure that older Americans who require nursing home care are allowed to maintain dignity and respect, as well as privacy. Sadly, many nursing home residents suffer at the hands of greedy nursing home corporations that poorly staff their facilities, leaving residents with substandard care. Perhaps some of the most common injuries suffered in nursing homes are bedsores, also called pressure ulcers.

If you suspect a loved one is being neglected in a South Carolina nursing home, contact our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys for a free consultation to learn more about how we can fight to protect your loved one and possibly get compensation for his or her injuries. Here’s what you should understand about bedsores.

What Exactly Are Bedsores?

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Be prudent when your family makes visits to the nursing home.

The proper medical term is a decubitus ulcer, although there are a variety of types. In general, when a person is frail and in a weakened state and unable to move about freely, there is a risk of skin breakdown. Most bedsores are caused by a combination of the following conditions:

  • Pressure. Areas around bony prominences (e.g. elbows, tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, and so forth) are most susceptible, because a bed-bound person may lay in one spot for an extended period of time, causing bruising to the underlying tissues.
  • Moisture/Heat. Over time, with heat and moisture, the bruised underlying cellular tissue beneath the skin becomes boggy (mushy in texture). This is evidence that the underlying tissue is dying and not regenerating as it should be.
  • Friction. Many times a pressure ulcer will form below the skin but remain closed. With appropriate care, the injury never opens and begins to heal appropriately. But if care is not used when moving the person, friction can rub against the bony areas that are already injured, thereby tearing the skin open and exposing the underlying wound.
  • Shear. Though very similar and often occurring in tandem with friction, this is an underlying action that occurs when bony prominences rub internally. Think of friction and shear as a bone and the mattress working together from two different sides and angles to tear open the already damaged tissue. Once a pressure ulcer gets this far along, it generally requires extensive and aggressive care to prevent further deterioration.

Early Detection is Key for Bedsores

The key to stopping bedsores is catching them early. The sooner you identify the signs and warnings of bedsores, the sooner appropriate treatment can begin. Staff should reposition bed-bound individuals frequently and make sure that residents are not left in their own urine or excrement for extended periods of time. Likewise, extreme care must be used when moving and repositioning people.

Are All Bedsores Negligence?

This is a tricky question. Obviously, there are those rare situations where a bed sore might be unpreventable, but this would be extremely rare. In the vast majority of situations, bedsores are a healthcare-acquired injury. In fact, Medicare considers Stage III and Stage IV bedsores to be “never events,” meaning they should never occur in a healthcare environment.

Hire a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney in Charleston, SC

At David Aylor Law Offices, we are driven to make sure our clients’ rights are protected. If your loved one is suffering or has died as a result of careless or subpar care in a nursing home, you need an experienced trial lawyer to help you pursue justice. Call today for a free consultation, and find out more about your rights to compensation.

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