Many seniors face substantial physical damage from neglect or elder abuse. Nursing home abuse and neglect can result in serious health problems, including bed sores or pressure ulcers that are stage 3 or higher. Such advanced pressure sores typically only develop when care providers substantially neglect the needs of a senior and fail to provide at least a minimum level of acceptable care.
If you or someone you love develops bed sores/pressure sores that are stage 3 or higher, you need to take action to find out what legal remedies are available to you to recover compensation for damages. The Alameda County nursing home abuse lawyers at the Evans Law Firm can assist with making a claim against the caregiver whose negligence caused the pressures sores to develop and worsen, as well as with claims against the nursing home and/or agency who employed the caregiver.
More About Bed Sores/Stage-3 or Higher Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers or bedsores can develop in patients with limited mobility who are confined to a bed or a wheelchair. When a patient who cannot move freely sits or lays in the same spot for long periods of time, the constant pressure from laying in the same position can damage the skin and the tissue underneath the skin.
There are different stages of pressure sores depending upon the extent of damage to the skin and tissue. With stage 1, sores develop but no open wounds are visible. By stage 2, the skin breaks open or an ulcer forms. Both stage 1 and stage 2 can be painful for seniors.
In stage 3, the pressure sore has progressed and is no longer just a superficial sore with an open ulcer or wound. The tissue underneath the skin is damaged and a small crater is formed. Fat may be visible within the sore. If the problem continues to progress to stage 4, the opening will further deepen and muscle and bone will be affected. Deep tissue, joints and tendons can also sustain damage.
While a senior may experience less pain in stages 3 and 4 because the tissue is dead, the risk of permanent damage and life-threatening infection is significantly greater once the pressure sores have reached this stage.
Holding Caregivers Accountable for Stage 3 or Greater Pressure Sores
With proper caregiving, pressure sores should ideally never develop and should never progress to stage 3 or greater. Seniors should be rotated or helped to move frequently by nursing home staff or other caregivers to avoid staying in the same place for too long. Special pressure-reducing furniture and equipment is often used as well to try to fight the development of pressure sores.
Once these sores begin to form, nursing home staff or caregivers should seek prompt medical attention for a senior to stop the progression of the bedsores. A failure to either prevent bedsores or secure medical aid can be clear signs of negligence that could result in civil liability. A nursing home lawyer at the Evans Law Firm, Inc. should be consulted for help in pursuing a civil action for damages resulting from a caregiver and nursing home’s lapse of reasonable care that caused the advanced pressure sores to develop.