A resident of a nursing home in Miami, FL, who is bedridden, has one of their family members visit them one weekend. To their surprise, they notice a strange sore on the back of their thigh. What is that? It wasn’t there last time we visited. They have just witnessed what is known as a bedsore or pressure sore. These wounds are very painful and can become infected if not treated in a timely manner. They are caused when the pressure of the body is in one place for too long without being moved. This is especially common in people that cannot move for themselves and do not have someone who is constantly supervising them to ensure that these bed sores do not manifest themselves.
These bed sores are especially dangerous for the elderly population because they may already have a compromised health condition. These wounds should not be surfacing in nursing home residents, particularly because they are completely avoidable if the standard of care is properly followed within the medical services being provided by the health care professionals. Elder lawyers for medical malpractice and negligence in Miami, FL are deeply saddened to encounter individuals who were left unattended and who were provided poor quality care that acquire these preventable bed sores. These things should not be occurring in any health care setting, including hospitals.
The Main Causes of Pressure Sores
If proper care is provided to the patient/resident, then these wounds can be avoided entirely. Neglect is a given when these sores develop on a resident of an Old Folks’ Home. If the nursing staff fails to do the following, then these potentially life-threatening sores will, without a doubt, develop:
- Every two hours, move the patient around from their current position to alleviate the pressure
- On a regular basis, inspect the skin of the patient to ensure there are no signs of redness
- When warranted, acquire access to a mattress that works on relieving pressure from the patient’s body
The prevention of bedsores is the sole responsibility of the health care providers within each care facility, including assisted living facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes. In addition to preventing them, they must be able to properly identify signs of these wounds and know the adequate treatment to take to cure them to prevent further harm.
The Severity of These Wounds
Bedsores have different stages to them which indicated the severity of the wound. Ideally, catching it during stage 1, which is when the skin becomes irritated and develops red patches, is the best stage to prevent additional harm. If not caught on time, these wounds can become worst, although they are highly treatable during stage 1. Once a bed sore has progressed passed stage 1, to either stage 2, 3, or 4, then the chances of surviving and treating the wound are dramatically decreased. Residents who develop severe pressure sores will require immediate transferring to a better-equipped health care facility that will be able to treat the wound. In fact, Florida Law prohibits assisted living facilities to continue treating a resident who has developed stage 3 or stage 4 bedsores. If these facilities do not transfer the resident, then they would be deemed as having been negligent and may be found accountable for the damages done.
External Factors That Make an Individual More Susceptible to Bed Sores
There are some identifiable external factors that may make a patient more prone to acquiring a bed sore. These factors need to be identified by the staff members within a nursing home to better assist the resident. Some of those factors include:
- A history of smoking
- Having dry skin
- Being of the age of 70 or older
- Having issues regarding their mental health
- Having incontinence during passing urine
- Not having much mobility
- Having a body mass index that is low
If upon the admission of the resident in Miami, these factors are not recognized or acknowledged, the development of a bed sore is significantly higher for these individuals. The specific needs of residents need to be analyzed and a health plan needs to be set in place by the facility and applied by the nursing staff. It is essential that within this plan, ways to reduce the manifestation of bed sore is present.
Statistics Regarding Bed Sores Appearances in Patients
- In any given year, about 150,000 patients will acquire some form of bedsore, varying in stages
- Patients in nursing homes who have experienced a bed sore is no less than 8%; some estimations find that no less than 24% of patients will acquire a bed sore
- No less than $16,000 dollars is used to treat patients with stage 2 pressure sores
- Every year, the medical cost for pressure sores is about $10 billion
- The most common bedsore stage seen in patients is two
- More than $125,000 dollars is needed to treat stage 4 bed sores
- The Department of Health received more than 445,000 cases of patients who acquired a bed sore in 2003
- Patients who stay longer than one year in a nursing home are less likely to develop a pressure sore, whereas those who stay less than a year are more susceptible
- 35% of residents were found to have pressure sores at stage 2 or more
- 233,000 patients within a hospital were found with a pressure sore in 2001, which increased to 455,000 in 2003
Medical Conditions and Complications That Can Come From a Bed Sore
Thousands of patients experience this increasing problem, the manifestation of pressure sores, as the statistics indicate above. Other serious medical conditions can develop from a lack of treatment of these wounds, which is a fact that the lawyers of elderly neglect are aware of. Conditions that may surface include:
- Losing sensory perception in the area
- Illnesses that are contagious and pneumonia
- Immune system that becomes weak
- Circulation that becomes affected by a medical condition
- The presence of muscle spasms
- Intense bruising of the skin
- Loss of blood
Characteristics of Stage Two Bed Sores
As stage two bed sore are the most common, here are some characteristics pertaining to them:
- Skin that becomes worn or broken
- Swelling or tenderness that develops in the area
- Extreme pain
- Blisters or scrapes that start to form
- Skin area dies
FAQS About Bed Sores
Question: Are there different types of bed sores?
Answer: Yes. Bed sores may manifest themselves through various stages. The less severe being stage 1 and the most severe being stage 4. There is stage 1, which are wounds that have not been opened yet, just reddening of the skin. Stage 2, the most common, is when the skin breaks and the ulcers are formed beneath it. It looks like a blister. Stage 3 and stage 4 are the most severe. Stage 3 is when the tissue becomes damaged underneath the skin, where fat may show. In stage 4, the skin is damaged beyond repair and tendons, tissues, and joints may show can cause extensive damage to the bones.
Question: Can bed sores be prevented?
Answer: Yes they can. Avoiding the development of a pressure sore is feasible. If the nursing home facility adopts the methods to prevent these wounds, then they would not present themselves. Some methods include moving the patient or re-positioning them every two hours or using a pressure-relieving mattress.
Question: Can a pressure sore manifest itself due to negligence?
Answer: It is actually the direct cause of it. A bed sore derives from negligence by the nursing staff. Lawyers of nursing home negligence will hold the facility accountable for the damages that they caused from their lack of care and prevention.
The Negligence Experienced Deserves Professional Help – Miami, FL
If the prevention of an injury was not exercised by a health care provider, and the resident developed a pressure sore, wound, or abrasion, a lawsuit may surface against the facility. Bed sores, while at stage 1 pose little risk, can become life-threatening for an elderly person. Untreated bed sores injure thousands and even kill individuals every year. Getting in touch with an attorney who specializes in bed sore negligence cases can be achieved by contacting the firm of Percy Martinez a bed sore attorney in Miami. As mentioned previously, these wounds should not be manifesting themselves. In fact, they should be regularly prevented. Residents are owed a duty of care that must be followed by the standard of care. If otherwise, the resident is the individual who will suffer the consequences of the facilities and staff members neglectful acts. If a nursing staff professional provided the resident with negligent care services, the firm of bed sore lawyers from Percy Martinez Law Firm provide anyone seeking help with a free consultation.