Making the decision that your loved one needs the skilled care of a nursing home is never an easy one. Furthermore, it necessitates a good deal of research and investigation to find a facility that will provide your elderly relative with an array of necessary services, including quality healthcare, appetizing meals with adequate nutrition, and appropriate social interaction.
When you find a good fit between a nursing home and your loved one, it’s a great feeling. If instead of receiving the excellent care you bargained for, however, your loved one develops bedsores—which are a sign of nursing home neglect. That can prove especially disheartening.
A bedsore, also referred to as a pressure ulcer, is an injury that affects the skin and its underlying tissue. These sores are caused by prolonged pressure to exposed skin. These injuries are more common on the body’s bony areas like the ankles, heels, shoulder blades, spine, hips, and tailbone. Furthermore, the back of the arms and legs—where they’d rest against a chair—are also vulnerable.
For people confined to beds, common bedsore sites can include the back or sides of the head, shoulder blades, tailbone, lower back, hips, heels and ankles, and the skin behind the knees.
The elderly and others with limited mobility and limited ability to reposition themselves are most susceptible to developing bedsores. Naturally, nursing home residents are especially vulnerable.
If your loved one suffers from bedsores developed while under the care of a nursing home, everyone involved can find it difficult to come to emotional terms with the situation. You sought out a nursing home to care for and protect your elderly relative, and now that home has neglected—and injured—your loved one.
If you’re facing such a dilemma, however, help is available. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm in Charleston are committed to fighting for the rights of the elderly, and we have the compassion, experience, and skills to obtain just compensation for your loved one.
Know the Telltale Signs
Many of us have no experience with bedsores and have no idea what they look like. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the telltale signs of these injuries so that you can nip their often-swift progression in the bud. Several signs that your loved one may develop bedsores (and not get the needed nursing home care your elderly relative deserves) include:
- If your loved one’s skin exhibits changes in color or texture (especially in the areas described above)
- If your loved one has comparatively warmer or cooler areas of skin
- If your loved one’s skin has swollen and tender areas
- If any area of your loved one’s skin produces pus-like drainage
Any of these symptoms can indicate that your loved one is developing or has developed bedsores. The nursing home entrusted with your relative’s care is charged with providing quality care that includes protecting that person from bedsores, which are preventable injuries.
The Severity of the Bedsore Injury
Bedsores can range widely in severity. At the lower end of the spectrum is a painful, reddened area of skin that hasn’t yet become an open wound on your relative’s skin. At the most extreme end, bedsores can become deep, open wounds that affect your loved one’s underlying muscle and bone. Several serious complications are closely associated with bedsores:
- Cellulitis is an infection that afflicts the skin and the connected soft tissues. It often shows up as a warm, reddened, swollen area. If the event of nerve damage, the sufferer may not feel any pain associated with cellulitis.
- Infections of the bone and joint can develop if the bedsore burrows deeply enough. Infections of the joint (septic arthritis) can lead to damaged cartilage and tissue, and infections of the bone (osteomyelitis) can lead to a reduction in the joint’s and or limb’s healthy functioning.
- Cancer can develop if the resident suffers from long-term, non-healing bedsores (Marjolin’s ulcers)
It’s not common, but bedsores can also develop into the serious infection known as sepsis.
Bedsores and their Care
Because bedsores can swiftly become more serious, they require effective, immediate treatments. If appropriately and promptly treated, most bedsores will heal. Those that are left to fester, however, may never heal. As such, avoid the development of bedsores in the first place. Nursing homes can achieve this goal by helping less mobile residents reposition themselves often and frequently repositioning immobile patients. Furthermore, keeping residents’ skin clean, dry, and protected from friction points helps to keep bedsores at bay.
Plan of Care
The nursing home entrusted to caring for your elderly loved one should develop a clear plan of care that directly addresses bedsores. Bedsores are preventable, but they can swiftly morph into serious, difficult to heal injuries. If you see any signs that your loved one isn’t properly protected from bedsores, speak with the facility’s director as soon as possible. When it comes to beidsores, prevention is always key. Your relative should not develop bedsores while under the care of a nursing home.
If Your Elderly Relative Develops Bedsores While in a Nursing Home, Consult a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney
Nursing home negligence is difficult to fathom, and bedsores are preventable, so your elderly relative shouldn’t develop them while in a nursing home’s care. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm in Charleston, South Carolina, have the experience, skill, and compassion to aggressively advocate for your loved one’s rights. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (843) 881-8644 today.