Pressure sores (Bedsores, Decubitus Ulcers or Pressure Ulcers) are a very graphic sign of systematic poor care at medical facilities and other long-term care institutions. The development of pressure sores is becoming an epidemic amongst patients in nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities. In fact, studies suggest that patients in medical facilities today are more likely to develop pressure sores than they were just ten years ago!
Causes of Pressure Sores
The mechanics behind the development of pressure sores (also called bed sores, pressures ulcers or decubitus ulcers) involve unrelieved pressure on bony parts of the body over an extended period of time. Gradually, blood flow becomes restricted and the skin and tissue die, resulting in the development of a wound in the area.
Pressure sores most commonly develop in bony areas of the body with little muscle or tissue to cushion the weight of the body over an extended period of time. Although a pressure sore can develop almost anywhere, the most common areas of the body prone to develop the wounds include the:
Not only are positioning and movement factors in pressure sores, the patient’s health and hygiene care is also involved. Poor nutrition and dehydration can impact skin health and the bodies ability to heal, making individuals more susceptible to pressure sores. Also, patients who are allowed to sit in urine or feces or in wet clothing and bedding for any amount of time are also more likely to have skin deterioration and pressure sores develop.
Complications Related To Pressure Sores
When unrelieved pressure combines with other conditions such as incontinence and malnourishment the patient’s risk for developing pressure sores is exponentially increased. In addition to the pain and disability that accompanies the actual pressure sore, and open wound (that accompanies an advanced pressure sore) is the substantial increase in the patients likelihood of serious medical complications including:
It is important that pressure sores are treated as soon as they are detected to prevent them from accelerating to additional stages or levels. If allowed to progress at the early stages, pressure sores can be much more difficult to heal as they become deeper into the patient’s tissue. Of course the best case scenario is not to let pressure sores form in the first place.
Medical Facilities’ Duty To Protect Patients From Developing Pressure Sores
Knowing the devastation that can come about after a pressure sore develops, facilities must make prevention of pressure sores a priority and implement a pressure sore prevention program. While the needs of each patient may indeed be unique — basic pressure sore prevention methods include:
- Move patients at regular intervals—every 2 hours is considered a good practice
- Keep patients clean and dry
- Prevent dehydration and malnutrition
- Use pressure-relieving devices for patients who are at high risk such as specialized mattresses or cushions
Legal Rights For Those Whom Have Developed Pressure Sores During An Admission To A Medical Facility
The overwhelming majority of pressure sore lawsuits against medical facilities derive from the fact that the facility was simply not doing an adequate job caring for the patient. While the underlying reasons may be complex; under-staffing and inadequate training of staff are recurring themes in pressure sore lawsuits.
Our bed sore lawyers have experience litigating and settling cases involving the development of pressure sores in all types of facilities– both within Illinois and throughout other jurisdictions across the country. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can evaluate you pressure sore case and advise you of your legal rights, with an emphasis on timely and effective resolution of cases.
Resources regarding the incidence of bed sores at medical institutions: