My Loved One Has Bedsores! Can I Sue the Nursing Home?

When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to receive the best care possible. However, many people end up filing personal injury claims against nursing homes that allowed their loved one to get bedsores. Although bedsores are not unusual in someone who is bedridden, where and how they form could mean neglect or carelessness on the part of the nursing home.

 

What Are Bedsores?

Bedsores occur when there is sustained pressure on one part of the body for an extended period. As skin lesions, they can cause scarring as well as damage to the underlying tissue due to the constant pressure. In older individuals who have mobility problems, bedsores may develop quickly as they are primarily confined to a bed.

Bedsores are usually divided into categories that range from Grade I, which is simply a slight discoloration of the skin to Grade IV, a sore that has caused damage to the skin, tissue, joint, tendons, or bones.

 

Are Bedsores Dangerous?

A bedsore that is left untreated can lead to death. In addition, bedsores may cause complications such as inadequate blood flow, bacteria entering the bloodstream, and more. The skin on the elbows, over the heels, and on the back of the head are most at risk of developing bedsores as they are the areas that press against the bed the most.

The worst bedsores can take years to heal, and a bedsore may also lead to extensive scarring if it becomes severe. Pressure ulcers can cause fever and chills if they become infected, and infections can also take a long time to heal. In addition to these symptoms, infection may also cause rapid heartbeat, confusion, and weakness.

How Are Bedsores Prevented?

Nursing homes and caregivers must use preventative measures to stop bedsores from forming. The most common way is to reposition a bedridden person periodically. There are also devices that can be used to help keep certain parts of the body from receiving continuous pressure. In most cases, someone who is bedridden should be repositioned every two hours and, if they need assistance, the nursing home should have staff assigned to perform that duty regularly.

In addition, skin care routines and good hygiene practices can help prevent bedsores. The nursing home should check your loved one’s skin for any sign of injury. Moisturizing products should be used to prevent dryness, and regular bathing should help reduce the chance of bedsores. If there is anyway for the patient to be active, the nursing home should encourage them to do so as this will also prevent bedsores.

Should I Sue?

It is possible you may have a personal injury claim against the nursing home if bedsores are allowed to form and are not treated properly. You may be able to claim medical malpractice as healthcare providers are supposed to provide a certain standard of care. If that care is not provided, you may have a medical malpractice case. You may also have a claim for neglect if you discover that the nursing home:

  • Caused infection or amputation
  • Caused death due to bed sore infection
  • Failed to diagnose bedsores in a timely manner
  • Failed to order consultations
  • Failed to perform proper medical treatments
  • Failed to prevent bedsores from becoming worse
  • Failed to turn your loved one often enough

If your loved one died as a result of bedsores, you may have a claim for wrongful death on top of a claim for nursing home neglect. If you or your loved one are a victim of suffering bedsores as a result of nursing home abuse, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses.