Whether the doctor who gives a second opinion calls them bed sores, pressures sores, decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, this painful condition is often a sign of nursing home neglect. When somebody – for example, a bedridden patient in a nursing home — lies too long in the same position, the pressure in areas of contact can restrict or eliminate blood flow. This leaves the skin in that area irritated and open to infection. Left untreated, open sores develop as the tissue begins to die without blood.
Responsible facilities observe professional practices for the prevention and early treatment of bed sores in nursing home cases. These include:
- Changing patient position frequently and regularly, to prevent the pressure sores from forming.
- Avoid the use of physical or chemical restraints when possible, to minimize time spent in one position.
- Daily skin assessments by staff trained to spot early warning signs of decubitus ulcers.
- Use of the Braden Scale, or a similar professional metric, to assess the risk an individual has of developing pressure ulcers.
- Proper handling of patients while moving or exercising a patient, or performing physical therapy.
When nursing homes fail to carry out these precautions, areas of red and irritated skin form at the areas of restricted blood flow. This can lead to blisters, open sores, oozing wounds, bleeding, deep-tissue infection and complications including sepsis and gangrene. Because of the medical fragility of those at the greatest risk of pressure ulcers, these complications can – and often do – become fatal.
Bed sore death is entirely preventable, but common enough that it is a commonly recognized sign of nursing home neglect. Families who have lost a loved one due to pressure sore complications, or seen that patient suffer pain from decubitus ulcer symptoms, have the right to file a bed sore lawsuit and hold the facility responsible for their neglect.
Both are signs that adequate sustenance isn’t being provided, or that staff isn’t making certain a patient is eating and drinking enough to be healthy. Like bedsores, this condition is 100 percent preventable with adequate staffing and care.
In Chicago, nursing home abuse is about as common as the nation as a whole. Filing a lawsuit against neglectful or abusive care facilities is one of the most effective ways to hold abusers accountable for their actions.