What Are Bedsores?
Causes And Symptoms
Recourse For Abuse Or Neglect
Bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, occur when the skin’s blood flow is cut off. Older people (such as those living in nursing homes) are at a higher risk of bedsores as many of them can’t reposition themselves. Further, nursing home staff may not properly treat the sores before they worsen and cause deadly complications. Nursing home staff members should be able to prevent bedsores in these residents — but this doesn’t always happen. Every year, older adults develop deadly bedsores while staying in facilities that are supposed to take proper care of them, [particularly those residents confined to wheelchairs or bed. Unfortunately, bedsores are quite common and very dangerous. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that over 2.5 million people in the United States develop bedsores every year. Those who suffer from bedsores due to nursing home neglect or abuse may have a claim for elder abuse as physical abuse or neglect is actionable under California law. See Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.63(definition of physical elder abuse) and 15610.57(definition of neglect). Injured persons have recourse against the nursing home and all those accountable for their injury, and remedies can include award of attorneys’ fees and costs in certain circumstances. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657(a). If you have a loved one who has suffered injury due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home or care facility here in Los Angeles, Orange County or elsewhere in California, call Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669, and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Causes Of Bedsores
Bedsores are caused by a loss of blood flow to the skin for an extended period of time. Blood flow can easily get cut off to the skin if nursing home residents are not mobile and sit or lie in the same spot for too long. Bedridden patients may need to be turned several times a day to prevent this; and incontinent patients will even need greater attention. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three main forces that can lead to nursing home bedsores:
- Friction:Friction occurs when the skin is dragged against another surface. For example, a patient’s skin may be pulled across the bed during position changes.
- Pressure:This force can cause damage when the pressure of the skin against an object is greater than the pressure inside the body’s blood vessels. This pressure damages and kills skin tissue. This is why residents need to be turned – to avoid too much pressure on one part of their body for too much time.
- Shear:Shear is similar to friction but happens when two surfaces move in different directions. Shear can occur when the skin itself moves but the bones and muscle underneath stay in the same place. Shears may happen when a resident is transferred from bed to wheelchair or repositioned in the bed or chair.
Nursing home bedsores are more common in bony areas of the body like the tailbone, ankles, and heels. They tend to develop in places on the body that aren’t padded with muscle or fat.
Symptoms Of Bedsores
The symptoms of bedsores are mild at first and gradually worsen as the wound tunnels into the body. In the early stages of a bedsore, there won’t be an open wound. Instead, the skin will be discolored (typically red or purple) and the affected area will be painful to touch. Nursing home bedsores in this stage may also feel hotter or colder than normal skin. An open wound will appear if the bedsore is not quickly treated. As the nursing home bedsore worsens, pus and blood may leak from it. The skin can turn black as necrosis (the death of healthy tissue) occurs. Severe nursing home bedsores reach down deep into underlying tissue and can even expose bone. These bedsores put older adults at a high risk of infections – which can even be fatal.
Recourse For Injured Residents
Injuries from nursing home abuse or neglect are actionable under the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15600 et seq. If you have an older loved one who has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, seek counsel regarding possible claims your loved one might have against those responsible. Act quickly whenever you suspect any kind of abuse or neglect as the time period to bring suits for these kinds of cases can be very short. There is no benefit to waiting. If a loved one has suffered injury as the result of abuse or neglect, our attorneys will pursue all available remedies from owners, administrators and staff.
Ingrid M. Evans and Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Orange County and Los Angeles and throughout California. Call Ingrid today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid will pursue all available remedies for injured seniors including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing your lawsuit.