Decubitus Ulcer Lawyer
A decubitus ulcer, commonly known as a bedsore or pressure ulcer, occurs when an area of skin breaks down after too much pressure. In nursing homes, decubitus ulcers most often occur when immobile residents are left for long periods of time without being moved. Nursing home caregivers are obligated by both federal and state laws to provide a standard quality of care, including ensuring that all residents are safe and not subjected to neglect or abuse. Yet, an exorbitant amount of nursing home residents suffer from decubitus ulcers that could have been prevented with the proper care.
If your loved one suffers from decubitus ulcers because of negligent and careless nursing home care, you may entitled to compensatory damages. An experience decubitus ulcer lawyer can help you win the justice you deserve. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer for a free legal consultation.
Most Common Reasons That Decubitus Ulcers Occur
As mentioned earlier, the leading reason that nursing home residents develop decubitus ulcers is because they simply are not being moved enough. For example, nursing home residents who are confined to a wheelchair is dependent upon a nursing home caregiver to help them change positions. If they sit in one position for too long, the skin on the legs, buttocks, tailbone, and back of the legs may begin to break down. Additionally, someone who is confined to a bed may experience the same problems if left unattended for too long. However, unlike those confined to sitting positions, nursing home residents confined to lying positions run the risk of also developing decubitus ulcers on the back of their head and ears.
Another reason for decubitus ulcers in nursing homes is leaving an incontinent resident in soiled clothing. If someone sits or lies too long in clothing soaked in urine or feces, open wounds may develop, leading to decubitus ulcers.
Both of the aforementioned instances are considered nursing home abuse and negligence. Nursing home caregivers must always ensure that residents have their daily living and medical needs met. If a nursing home fails to provide the necessary care, it may be liable for numerous damages.
Negligent Care for Existing Decubitus Ulcers
In instances in which a resident is admitted into the nursing home with pre-existing decubitus ulcers, caregivers must make sure to follow proper bandaging and medical procedures when caring for them. If current decubitus ulcers are neglected, the wounds may become deeper and much more difficult to manage.
Decubitus Ulcer Prevention and Treatment
Decubitus ulcers are not something that just happens as a normal consequence of being confined to a bed. They can be prevented, treated, and in many instances healed if a nursing home caregiver follows proper preventive measures. Some of these proactive steps include:
- Frequently changing the resident’s position, whether sitting or lying
- Changing bedding, linens, and clothing regularly
- Administering proper medication at regular intervals, including oral and/or topical
- Ensuring that the resident is getting good nutrition
- Changing bandages frequently
- Closely monitoring for any signs of illness
Consequences of Untreated Decubitus Ulcers
Decubitus ulcers are wounds that can be managed easily if detected and treated in time, but they can lead to serious complications if they are allowed to fester. Failure to treat decubitus ulcers can trigger other medical problems and subject the patient to undue pain and suffering.
Common complications include anemia, sepsis, amyloidosis, osteomyelitis, bladder distension, gangrene, urethral fistula, autonomic dysreflexia, and infections. In extreme cases, decubitus ulcers can result in the development of Marjolin’s ulcer, a malignant form of cancer.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 2.5 million patients develop decubitus ulcers every year. The majority of these wounds are treated and sometimes cured by conscientious caregivers. However, in many instances, nursing home staff and other caregivers neglect the patients under their care and subject them to the pain and discomfort caused by decubitus ulcers.
Legal Resources and Help
If your loved one suffers from decubitus ulcers at the expense of a negligent nursing home, you have the right to file for compensatory damages for pain, suffering, and more. State and federal nursing home laws are set into place in order to protect the elderly and vulnerable from abuse and neglect. You’ll need the right kind of attorney to handle your case to ensure your rights are being met and that you have the best chances of success. Nursing home abuse lawyers have helped numerous clients go on to expose nursing home negligence and win the damages they’re entitled to. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer today for a no-obligation legal evaluation.