How Quickly Do Bedsores Develop in a Nursing Home?Bedsores
Bedsores frequently tend to develop in individuals that are bed or chair-bound for extended periods of time. However, it does not take long for bedsores to form.
Even worse, injuries that began as bedsores can become life-threatening or result in serious consequences that can permanently impact the life of the injured individual and his or her family. To help you better understand the total gravity of bedsores, we have prepared the following blog post where we will go over everything you need to know about these injuries, how quickly they can develop in a nursing home and the legal options you have if you or a loved one suffered a bedsore injury.
Bedsore also referred to as a decubitus ulcer or a pressure ulcer, is an injury to the skin and the underlying tissue. These injuries often occur from prolonged pressure on the skin and tend to form on skin that covers bony areas of the body, including:
- Shoulder blades
- Back of the legs and arms
- The sides or the back of the head
- Behind the knee
Typically, people who face the most risk of developing bedsores have medical conditions that limit their ability to change position or cause them to have to spend most of their time in a chair or bed.
Symptoms of Bedsores
There are numerous symptoms associated with a bedsore injury. However, some of the more common ones that people need to watch out for include:
- Pus-like draining
- Skin that feels warmer or cooler to the touch than other areas
- Tender areas
- Unusual changes in skin texture or color
In the early stages of a bedsore injury, the bedsore may only involve a small area of reddened skin. However, as the issue persists, the injury becomes more severe to the point it can penetrate the muscles and bones underneath. Bedsores can also lead to further severe complications, including varying forms of infection. In rare cases, these bedsores can even lead to skin cancer and sepsis.
How Do These Bedsores Develop in a Nursing Home?
Bedsore usually develops when the blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. As this skin dies, bedsore grows as a red and painful area, eventually turning purple and breaking if left untreated.
In general, three contributing factors can lead to these sores. However, an individual only needs to experience one of the factors for this painful injury to develop.
These factors include:
- Pressure: Constant pressure constitutes one of the primary causes of bedsores. This pressure reduces the blood flow to the skin, which blocks the nutrients and oxygen that the skin needs. We should also point out that when it comes to elderly residents, the pressure needed to cause these bedsores is relatively low. Simply lying in the same position for an extended time is enough to cause these sores to form. For these reasons, when elderly individuals in a nursing home do not receive proper care, they face a much higher chance of developing these bedsores.
- Friction: Another common factor causing these bedsores is friction. This friction develops when the skin rubs against another object, such as a person’s clothing or the mattress, and becomes damaged.
- Shear: This factor involves two surfaces moving in different directions, such as when a nursing home resident slides down a raised bed. As gravity pulls the resident’s body down, the bed pulls his or her skin in the other direction and can cause a bedsore injury.
Individuals Most Susceptible to Bedsores in a Nursing Home
Studies show that most bedsores occur relatively early in the admissions process of a nursing home resident. In truth, most hospital patients, health care facility residents, and even nursing home residents develop a pressure ulcer within the first two weeks of being admitted into the facility.
Yet, even though these bedsore injuries can happen to anyone, they tend to frequently involve:
- Individuals who cannot change their body positions.
- Individuals who have a poor diet.
- Seriously ill individuals.
- Individuals who smoke.
- Individuals who have diabetes.
- Individuals who suffer incontinence of urine or feces, which causes the individual’s skin to remain damp.
- Individuals who have undergone hip surgery or are nursing a bad hip.
- Individuals suffering from COPD or heart failure.
- Individuals who have Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Individuals with poor circulation in the arms and legs.
Because certain people are more prone to these bedsore injuries, medical facilities and nursing homes need to be more mindful of how quickly these bedsores may form in their residents and be ready to implement preventative measures, such as turning patients regularly to prevent the formation of these painful and severe injuries.
If you or a loved one developed bedsore in a nursing home, it is important to reach out to an experienced bedsore attorney as soon as possible. These attorneys can review the incident, determine if the bedsore resulted from a nursing home’s lack of proper care, and help you fight for maximum compensation given your specific circumstances.
How to Identify a Bedsore?
Bedsores are typically divided into four stages, from the least severe to the most severe. These stages include:
- Stage One: In this first stage, the patient’s skin has no crack or breaks in the surface, but does begin to look permanently red. This skin can also feel hard to the touch or warm and appear slightly swollen. In addition, the person may complain that the area hurts, burns, or itches.
- Stage Two: During this stage, these bedsores begin to appear superficial, like a blister or an abrasion, and individuals often complain of significant pain while the skin around the wound becomes discolored.
- Stage Three: In stage three, the bedsore injury penetrates through the entire thickness of the individual’s skin, and the area takes on a crater-like appearance due to damage below the skin’s surface.
- Stage Four: This fourth stage is known as the most severe stage, and it often results when a bedsore is deep enough to cause major damage to the bone and muscle underneath it.
These bedsores are generally staged based on their appearance when a medical care professional diagnoses them by inspecting the skin of those at risk.
No. Bedsores should never develop in a nursing home, care center, or hospital.
Whenever a nursing home takes in a new resident, the staff must perform a new patient exam. This assessment will often include an evaluation of the resident’s risk of developing bedsores. As a result, if the resident faces a high risk of developing these sores, the resident’s care plan should include bedsore prevention. This means the care should address the resident’s nutrition, hygiene, and hydration, while those with limited mobility should be repositioned every two hours.
If a facility fails to take these precautions, and a resident develops bedsores, some nursing home providers may try to protect themselves from liability by indicating that the bedsores were unavoidable. In a majority of these cases, however, this is not true, mainly because these bedsores are often preventable through early detection and proper screening.
Consequently, most bedsore injuries tend to result from poor nursing care and are not based on aging or other unavoidable causes. However, if a facility claims that a bedsore was inevitable, the claim needs to be assessed by an independent third-party medical expert. This is because, if a bedsore is genuinely unavoidable, the nursing home must have evaluated the resident’s condition and risk factors of developing the sore, implemented specific measures to prevent these bedsores, monitored the affected area, and revised the plan as appropriate. If the nursing home did not take all these steps, it cannot claim that the resident’s bedsores were unavoidable.
Questions to Ask a Nursing Home Director if Your Loved One Developed a Bedsore
If you discovered that a loved one developed a bedsore at a nursing home facility, not only are you likely worried about your loved one’s health, but you may also question how this could have happened in the first place. In these instances, you need to ask questions. Better yet, Ask a nursing home lawyer to ask questions for you.
Your lawyer may want to ask the nursing home administrator:
- How serious is the bedsore? What stage is it?
- When did you first start noticing the bedsore, and what was the treatment plan at that time?
- How strictly did the nursing home staff observe the care and treat the bedsore?
- Could adequate precautions have prevented the bedsore?
- How many hours a day was the resident in bed without being repositioned?
In addition, you may also want to review the standard of care practiced by the nursing home staff for basic hygiene. If you suspect any violations of this standard of care, it may be a good idea to report the violations to the
If you get pushback from the staff to obtain this information, or you get these answers and have no idea what to do next, reach out to an experienced nursing home accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced legal team can not only help you uncover any signs of nursing home neglect and figure out if the staff’s negligence caused the ulcer, but can also help you go after justice and compensation on behalf of your loved one.
How Can an Experienced Bedsore Attorney Provide You and Your Family the Legal Assistance You Need?
Bedsores may indicate abuse or neglect. For these reasons, if you or a family member suffered bedsores while in the care of a nursing home, you should reach out to an experienced bedsore attorney and get the legal help you need. Fortunately, once you’ve retained these lawyers, they can assist you every step of the way as you fight for the compensation that you need to cover the full cost of your or your loved one’s bedsore injuries.
An attorney will:
- Gather Information: These attorneys can obtain photos and videos, medical reports, and witness testimony to support your legal claim and prove that the nursing home bears responsibility for the bedsores.
- File Your Legal Claim: These lawyers can ensure that your legal claim is adequately prepared and filed with the proper court and that those being sued are notified with formal documentation.
- Handle the Discovery: These legal professionals can collect and organize evidence and information to build the strongest case possible while also making sure to follow the proper state and federal laws that dictate how to hold a nursing home liable for injuries.
- Take Over Negotiations: Most cases against a nursing home will settle outside of a courtroom. However, to ensure that you or a loved one receives just compensation, these attorneys can handle all the negotiations with the other side.
- Head to Trial, if Necessary: If settlement negotiations don’t go well, and the parties cannot agree on a final amount, these attorneys can take your case to trial, where they can present a solid case on your behalf and pursue maximum financial damages.
Don’t wait any longer if you or a loved one suffered a bedsore injury because of a nursing home’s wrongful or neglectful actions. Instead, reach out to a skilled bedsore attorney today for a free case evaluation, during which you can discuss the details of your injuries, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation from the at-fault nursing home and/or staff.