When most people think of nursing home abuse, they likely think of physical violence or even sexual misconduct. These types of abuse take place because the nursing home staff is doing something they should not be doing. However, neglect, or simply put not doing something that should be done is also a form of abuse. One common sign of neglect in nursing home residents is the presence of pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. If your loved one developed bedsores while receiving care in a nursing home, you will want to speak to an experienced San Francisco nursing home abuse attorney.
What Causes Bedsores?
A variety of factors can contribute to a nursing home resident developing a bedsore. Most of them are due to negligence and require a review from an experienced San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyer.
Individuals that develop bedsores usually have decreased mobility. They spend a lot of time in bed or in a chair and are not really able to reposition themselves. Without the ability to reposition independently, their bony prominences such as the heels, elbow, tailbone, and knees are subject to immense pressure. This repeated and continuous pressure reduces the blood supply to the area. In turn, the tissues in these areas start to break down. They not only cause skin breakdown but can also impact all layers of tissue, including connective tissue and bone. Pressure ulcers are painful and very difficult to heal.
Other factors that can increase the risk of a bedsore include:
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of hydration
- Wet or damp skin
- Shearing of skin against linens
- Other medical conditions such as diabetes
Bedsores and Neglect
While nursing home staff cannot do much about residents who have limited mobility, they can take steps to prevent or significantly reduce the risk that they will develop bedsores. For these residents, staff should:
- Keep their skin clean and dry
- Change their position at least every two hours, if not sooner
- Use pillows or other positioning and pressure-relieving products to keep pressure off bony prominences
- Avoid dragging the skin across the bed linens by lifting the resident instead of sliding or dragging them
- Offer nutritious foods and encourage hydration
- Observe the skin for signs of a developing bedsore such as redness and report it immediately so that action can be taken
Nursing home staff, including nurses and nurses aides, should be following these protocols. They are the standard of care. When they do not follow these standards, and a resident develops a bedsore, they could be legally liable for the damages caused. It does not matter if they were short-staffed, forgot, or wanted to let the resident sleep. Family members who discover that their elderly loved one got a pressure ulcer while residing at a nursing home should reach out to a San Francisco nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible to determine if they have a valid legal claim.
Are You Worried that Your Loved One Might be a Victim? Connect with a Seasoned San Francisco Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
We are Northern California’s leading injury law firm with over $500 million in verdicts and settlements recovered on behalf of our deserving clients. Our staff takes the time to understand your individual needs and how your injuries or those sustained by your loved one have impacted your life. Call The Cartwright Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 433-0444 or use our convenient online request form to schedule your free case evaluation with a San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyer today.