Decubitus Ulcer is derived from the Latin term which means “to lay down.” These ulcers can occur in the form of an open skin wound that cold penetrate the surrounding tissues including the muscle and bone. They are most likely to occur in the case of people who have restricted mobility or those who have been bedridden or immovable for a long period. It is most likely to occur to patients admitted to nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities.
When someone remains in the same position for a longer period without getting any pressure relief, the blood supply can slow down leading to the development of decubitus ulcer. If the nursing home staff attending to the patient does not identify and treat the decubitus ulcer, the small ulcer can soon turn into a large and open wound with grave medical complications and even lead to death.
Even though decubitus ulcers can affect any individual who has limited mobility, it is most likely to occur in patients admitted to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals. However, most of the time it is attributed by the staff as a part of patients’ aging process, which is an incorrect and erroneous impression created on the mind of the patients and their relatives.
Decubitus ulcers are not caused by old age. They appear because of the combination of a number of risk factors that include immobility, constant pressure, dehydration, malnourishment and insufficient staffing. The patients can get affected because of the combination of all these risk factors or even when one of the factors is highly prevalent.
A highly helpful preventative measure that can be taken by the staff at the nursing home and the caretakers is to regularly alleviate pressure from different pressure points on the body of the patient. Most importantly, attention needs to be given to the back, the buttocks and the hips. It would also be important to ensure that the patient remains clean as well as dry.
Once a patient has developed decubitus ulcers, he would have to go through a painful and long treatment. In addition, the patient would be at a higher risk of developing complications like gangrene, sepsis, osteomyelitis and even death.
Decubitus ulcer can develop in a patient when the staff at a medical facility fails to meet the different needs of the patient and thus give room for all or some of the risk factors, mentioned above, to develop. In such a case, the patient or his/her family can pursue a lawsuit or make a legal claim against the medical facility for the negligence.
The lawsuits for the development of these ulcers can involve recovering the monetary damages associated with regard to pain, medical care, suffering and even lost wages. The condition of the patient before the development of decubitus ulcers would be the determining factor for the monetary claim. If you have a loved one suffering from this unwanted condition because of the negligence of a nursing home facility, you should consider your legal options.