Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue. They result from prolonged pressure on the skin, commonly affecting individuals confined to beds or wheelchairs for extended periods.
These skin injuries can lead to serious complications without prompt treatment, and recognizing common causes and risk factors can help prevent them. However, in some cases, bed sores may be indicative of a more serious situation—including nursing home abuse.
Bed sores occur when there is continuous pressure on a particular part of the body. This pressure cuts off the blood supply to the skin, leading to tissue damage or death. Pressure ulcers often develop on the bony parts of the body, such as the hips, shoulder blades, or tailbone. Many factors can raise a person’s risk for bed sores, such as:
Without proper treatment, pressure ulcers can worsen and lead to sometimes life-threatening complications. Medical professionals classify bed sores into four stages based on the severity of the condition, which aids in diagnosis and treatment:
Preventing bed sores often requires a combination of routine care, vigilance, and proactive measures. For people who are bed- or wheelchair-bound, caregivers must ensure to rotate their position every two hours. Pillows, foam pads, and mattresses designed to alleviate pressure can help prevent the development of pressure ulcers as well.
Nursing home caregivers should also use mild soap and warm water to clean their residents’ skin regularly and make sure the skin is fully dry before they return to bed. Residents should also stay well-hydrated and eat a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Additionally, caregivers should regularly inspect the skin, especially over bony areas, for signs of pressure ulcers or any changes in skin condition. If there are signs of bed sores, they should seek medical care for the resident as soon as possible.
Nursing home residents are inherently at a heightened risk for bed sores due to age, reduced mobility, and other health issues. When coupled with neglect or abuse, the risk multiplies. There are many ways that abuse and neglect can lead to pressure sores, such as:
If you or a loved one has developed a pressure ulcer while in a nursing home or care facility, and you believe it resulted from negligence or abuse, you may qualify for legal action. Pressure ulcers can lead to serious complications, from infections to life-threatening conditions. If nursing home neglect leads to a pressure ulcer, you may have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the facility and recover compensation to help pay for medical care, pain and suffering, and other damages.
To hold a nursing home accountable for its actions, you and your attorney will need to gather enough evidence to prove four critical facts:
You can leverage several pieces of evidence to prove these facts, such as medical records, internal documents, witness testimony, and insights from experts. A lawyer experienced in nursing home abuse claims can help collect this information and craft a compelling case on your behalf.
If you suspect that a loved one’s bed sores are the result of negligence in a Milwaukee nursing home or medical facility, it is imperative to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An attorney with experience in nursing home abuse lawsuits can guide you through the process, evaluate the specifics of your case, and advise on the best course of action.
Taking prompt legal action can not only secure compensation for your loved one but also hold the facility accountable for abusive or negligent practices. After getting your loved one to safety, contact a Milwaukee nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your legal options and plan your next steps.