Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are supposed to provide our loved ones with the care and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, many facilities neglect their responsibilities and, as a result, our loved ones face the consequences.
One of the more dangerous injuries a nursing home resident can sustain is a bedsore. Also known as pressure sores, these injuries are likely to occur if your loved one is being neglected or abused. If you’re ready to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions, our Milwaukee bedsore lawyers are ready to represent you.
Bedsore Risk Factors
While the caretakers and medical professionals watching over your loved one should always be aware of the risk factors associated with skin breakdowns, bedsores, and other associated pressure wounds, you’ll benefit from recognizing the risk factors, as well. If you take into consideration the risk factors in conjunction with your loved one’s health, you may be able to assist in preventing the development of bedsores.
- Age. As we age, our skin becomes vulnerable and delicate. Older people also have fewer protective fat stores, less elastic skin, and less efficient circulation.
- Malnutrition/Dehydration. Poor nutrition and dehydration can exacerbate the already vulnerable skin in older individuals.
- Limited Mobility. An older person becomes incredibly susceptible to injury when they’re bedbound or wheelchair bound for extended periods of time. The pressure put on the weakened skin can lead to open wounds.
- Incontinence. In the event a nursing home has poor hygiene conditions, this can become especially dangerous when incontinence is involved because damp skin can cause pressure sores if not handled properly.
- Pre-existing Medical Conditions. Serious medical conditions that affect the skin, circulatory system, or immune system can result in pressure sores if not cared for efficiently.
Locations and Causes of Bedsores in Nursing Homes
Pressure sores develop where a person spends time in one position for long periods of time where pressure on the an area of the skin is not relieved. The location of the wound depends on how the person is confined. In a nursing home setting, residents who use a wheelchair or are confined to a bed are more susceptible to getting them.
An individual who sits in a wheelchair for an extended period of time may develop pressure sores on their tailbone or buttocks, shoulder blades or spin, or the back of their arms or legs where the chair makes constant contact. A person confined to a bed may develop bed sores on the back or sides of their head, the rims of their ears, their shoulder or shoulder blades, their hips, lower back or tailbones, or their heels, ankles, or the skin behind their knees.
While the majority of bedsores develop because of prolonged pressure on one part of the body, there are other identifiable causes. Patients who have limited mobility may need help moving from one spot to the next. If their skin moves in one direction while the underlying bones move in another, this is called shearing. Friction can also cause bed sores when clothing or bedding rubs against fragile skin.
Nursing home employees should be well aware of these possible pressure sore causes. If they neglect their duties and allow residents to sustain such injuries, our bedsore lawyers can help you seek the justice your loved one deserves.
The Stages of Pressure Sore Injuries
When a bedsore starts to develop, early treatment is imperative. Without treatment, the sore will progress through the following stages:
- Stage 1: When a bedsore is in stage one, the surface of the injury may either be hard or soft, and the color can range greatly. It may look like a bruise. The telltale sign that differentiates it from a bruise is that it will itch. Treatment is often easy at this point and just involves incorporating more movement into the person’s day.
- Stage 2: As the injury progresses, a visible open sore will develop on the skin. There may also be blistering and discoloration.
- Stage 3: By the time a bed sore has progressed this far, deep ulcers may extend into the muscle tissue. The individual will likely be in a lot of pain, and the injury can be difficult to treat.
- Stage 4: The final stage of bed sores can result in lethal infections. The open wound can destroy tendons, muscles, and bones.
Filing a Lawsuit With a Milwaukee Bedsore Lawyer
If you’re ready to take action against a negligent nursing home or care facility, our nursing home abuse lawyers are here for you. We will investigate your claim and do what it takes to get the compensation your loved one deserves for what they’ve wrongfully been put through.
There are state and federal laws and regulations that nursing homes are required to follow. Neglecting to treat a patient who has developed serious bedsores violates those requirements. The facility can and should be penalized for their negligence and bringing harm to their residents. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of all nursing home residents in Wisconsin. Contact us today for more information on your legal rights and options.