Pressure Ulcer Lawyer
Each year, thousands of nursing home residents needlessly suffer from pressure ulcers. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 1 in 10 nursing home residents are battling pressure ulcers in any given day. In 2004 alone, a total of 159,000 nursing home residents in the United States were diagnosed with pressure ulcers. A good majority of these issues could have been prevented with the proper caregiving and medical care.
If your loved one is suffering or has suffered from the painful experience of pressure ulcers because the the medical negligence of nursing home caregivers, physicians, and/or medical staff, you have the legal right to seek damages. You’ll need an experienced attorney to help you through these trying times and to ensure that you have the best of success in proving your case. Nursing home abuse lawyers are available to assist you. Call today for a free case evaluation.
How Do Pressure Ulcers Happen?
When people live in a nursing home, it’s typically because they need assistance with daily living tasks as well as medical care. Many nursing home residents are immobile and rely on nursing home caregivers to help them get up, move around, lie down, and more. If these residents are neglected and left lying or sitting in the same position for too long, pressure begins to build in the under the skin in the areas. For example, if a nursing home resident is left lying on a bed for too long, the lower back area, and the back of the head, ears, legs, shoulders, and feet may develop pressure ulcers.
For residents who suffer from immobility as well as incontinence, the risks of pressure ulcers double if they aren’t monitored and taken care of properly. Undergarments and clothing soiled by urine or feces can cause open wounds. Coupled with immobility, an unattended nursing home resident is at high risk for not only pressure ulcers, but a host of other medical issues, including infections, sepsis, and fever.
Pressure Ulcer Treatment
Once pressure ulcers develop, it’s imperative that caregivers follow regular, proper treatment procedures, which usually include regularly changing bandages and applying a topical, antibiotic ointment to the affected areas. Since pressure ulcer severity is determined by stages, it’s important to be proactive during the earliest stages, when the ulcers are still small, closed and easier to treat.
As pressure ulcers develop into later stages, debridement may become necessary, and in the final stage, surgery may be the only option left. Of course, these issues can be easily avoided by moving the resident frequently, keeping the wounds cleaned, and regularly changing bandages and dressings. Unfortunately, though, nursing home neglect is a serious problem in nursing homes across the nation, resulting in helpless residents suffering through painful procedures that could have otherwise been avoided.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home negligence and carelessness on behalf of nursing home workers, including caregivers, nurses, and physicians is unfortunately one of the major reasons that residents develop pressure ulcers. Although there are instances in which a resident enters the nursing home with pressure ulcers, it’s the responsibility of the nursing home to perform a thorough risk assessment on every person before admittance as a resident. If a risk assessment is not performed and the resident’s injuries worsen, the nursing home may be liable.
In addition, as aforementioned, failing to move immobile residents on a frequent basis is considered nursing home neglect. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), people with pressure ulcers should change positions at least every two hours, if not sooner.
Furthermore, failure to provide proper, directed medical care to ensure the pressure sore doesn’t increase in severity also constitutes nursing home negligence, as well as leaving residents for prolonged periods of time with dirty linens and/or soiled clothing.
Getting Legal Help
It’s important to understand that federal and state laws protect nursing home residents from negligence and abuse. If you think your loved one developed pressure ulcers due to carelessness and negligence, contact experienced pressure ulcer lawyers today. They’ll assist you in understanding your legal rights and are happy to provide a free case consultation.