What Causes Pressure Sores?
Prolonged pressure that limits blood flow to the skin cause pressure sores, or as they are more commonly known, bedsores. This injury commonly afflicts sedentary people who cannot to move out of certain positions. Remaining in one position for too long can stress and injure the skin and the tissue underneath.
Pressure sores are especially prevalent in cases of nursing home neglect, where patients are left alone and not properly cared for. A pressure sore can cause terrible pain—and without proper identification and care, might take a long time to heal or lead to more serious conditions.
If you or a loved one has developed a pressure sore while in a nursing home, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (843) 881-8644 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Common Causes of Pressure Sores
Contrary to common belief, pressure sores are not limited to bedridden people. This injury is also common in people with limited mobility who sit in the same position for extended periods of time. This might include people in wheelchairs and those who spend much of their days sitting in the same armchairs.
Essentially, when pressure is applied to the skin for an extended period of time, the blood flow to the skin reduces. Without blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the skin, damage can occur. Eventually, the areas that hold the majority of the body’s weight (the tailbone, back of the legs, etc.) could suffer damage from this relentless pressure.
Who Is at Risk?
Those who are unable to move regularly on their own or change positions when they are sitting in a chair or resting in bed are at the greatest risk of developing pressure sores. This condition is a common indication of nursing home neglect, in which patients are left alone without proper care and attention. Yet it can present in any situation where a person stays in one position for a long time. Risk factors include:
- Those who are not properly hydrated and suffer from poor nutrition.
- People who are unable to move on their own due to an injury or general lack of mobility and rely on others to help them change positions.
- Those who have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, that already poses a risk for reduced blood flow to the skin and extremities.
How Do I Recognize a Pressure Sore?
Understanding how to recognize a pressure sore can form one of the first steps in making sure that those in assisted living facilities do not suffer from mistreatment.
Pressure sores can come in various levels of severity, and the longer nursing home staff subject people to remaining in the same position, the more severe their sores get. Advanced pressure sores can lead to dangerous inflections.
Pressure sores tend to present these features, most commonly on the tailbone, spine, shoulder blades, and the back of legs or arms:
- A red, swollen sore on the surface of the skin;
- A sore that looks like it is draining fluid or pus;
- Discolored or differently textured skin;
- Fever—an infected pressure sore could produce a temperature; and
- A malodorous smell.
If you believe that someone you love has developed pressure sores due to lack of care at a nursing home, first contact a medical professional to perform a thorough evaluation. Once verified, talk to an attorney to determine whether your loved one may have a claim. Your attorney may help you communicate with a manager at the nursing home for insights as to why the pressure sores originated.
Are Pressure Sores Dangerous?
While pressure sores can cause severe pain, they can also lead to other long-term injuries. When left untreated, infections may spread from the skin to the bones and joints. This can result in lasting disabilities, chronic pain, and limited mobility.
If immediately identified and treated, a pressure sore should heal relatively quickly. That said, if you spot a pressure sore on yourself or someone else, contact a doctor to start medical treatments right away, then speak with an attorney.
Proper treatment and frequent movement of patients from one position to another can avoid pressure sores. Pressure sores, therefore, indicate that a nursing home is not providing proper care and attention—in other words, the nursing home is neglecting its patients. Assisted living facilities owe a duty of care to their residents—and when they fail to provide it, patients and their loved ones may file claims for damages against the liable parties.
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina, Today
If you or a person you care about has developed pressure sores due to nursing home or assisted living facility staff neglect, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. One of the most dangerous effects of nursing home abuse is that victims often feel like they aren’t heard and don’t have options to fight for their rights.
At the Hughey Law Firm, we have spent many years working with clients in Charleston, South Carolina, who have experienced abuse while living in a nursing home, and we understand the emotional and physical trauma this can cause. Call us today at (843) 881-8644 to find out how we can help. You can also contact us online. We are available and ready to discuss your options and next steps. Don’t delay.