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Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Bed Sores?

Nursing home residents are susceptible to bedsores if they do not receive adequate care. Bedsores can develop and be incredibly painful, leading to serious health complications if not properly treated.

Do you believe your loved one has developed bedsores due to neglect or improper care by the nursing home staff? You may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home.

At the law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our top-notch lawyers have years of experience helping families get justice for their loved ones who have suffered from nursing home negligence.

Contact our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.

Medical Malpractice In Nursing Facilities

Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional deviates from the acceptable standard of care, leading to injury or death, whether done intentionally or not.

Medical malpractice is different from negligence because it goes against the accepted standard of care, and the healthcare professional should have known better.

Currently, medical malpractice can be hard to prove, but recent studies show an increase in medical malpractice cases.

Physicians are sued more than any other health care professionals, and their litigation rates continue to rise at a rate six times faster than the rate of growth for other personal injury cases.

Life-threatening events caused by medical negligence in nursing facilities are alarmingly common. Nursing home patients or their relatives can file personal injury claims against a nursing home because of the negligence that led to bedsores.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide care for the elderly and other people who need assistance with daily life. These facilities hire staff to provide their residents with the care they need, including hygiene-related support.

State and federal government agencies regulate nursing homes. Therefore, to operate, a business must meet specific requirements. This includes providing trained and certified staff in specialized aspects of care.

As a result, nursing home staff members are responsible for assisting their residents with personal hygiene. There is a high demand for employees in this field because of the number of individuals in this age group with hygiene-related needs.

In recent years, nursing homes have faced rising numbers of malpractice lawsuits. These legal complaints are filed by patients, their families, or other people who have been injured while under the care of these institutions.

Many lawsuits are related to hygiene-related issues, such as falls and bedsores, because most nursing facilities provide patient hygiene care.

Assisted living facilities are a great way to get older adults out of the house who may otherwise be living alone.

Bedsores Risk Factors

The risk factors for getting bedsores can be broken down into two categories:

  • Predisposing factors: These characteristics make a person more likely to develop bedsores. It includes poor nutritional status, limited physical mobility, low body weight, limited mental capacity, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or anemia.
  • Enabling factors: Circumstances that allow the development of bedsores, such as pressure, shear, and friction.

Federal and State Regulations on Nursing Home Care

The federal law that sets standards for food and medicine also governs hospital accreditation and the care hospitals provide.

Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers (bedsores) are most common in people who are very sick, sedated, paralyzed, or otherwise incapacitated. However, anyone who spends long hours in the same position can develop bedsores, whether awake or unconscious.

The most significant risk factor for ulcer development is pressure on the skin. Continuous pressure without relief for hours or days can crush small blood vessels that feed capillaries under the skin.

Damaged Blood Vessels

When these little blood vessels are damaged, the body's natural defense mechanism removes fluid from the area to avoid leaking out into the surrounding tissue. This causes the skin to wrinkle and collapse, exposing more tissue surface areas to pressure, which damages still more blood vessels.

If the pressure is not relieved, this cycle continues until muscles and bones are damaged. A pressure wound can develop within hours of a significant increase in pressure.

Bedsores have four stages of severity, with stage four being the most serious. Physical pain can increase as the stage of a pressure ulcer advances. Gangrene is possible in the most advanced stages.

Causes of Bedsores in Nursing Facilities

Deep wounds are caused by pressure or friction, damaging the skin and deeper tissues. Poor health-related hygiene among bedridden hospital patients is a significant cause of bedsore development.

Spinal cord injuries can result in blood flow alterations and tissue damage, which can cause bedsores. In that case, speak to our top-notch lawyers as soon as possible to explore your legal options and facilitate a bedsore lawsuit.

A free case evaluation with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer can reveal more about your best legal alternatives.

Impact of Bedsores on Nursing Facilities Patients Mental Health

A new study published by the National Institutes of Health states that bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers) are a serious health risk for elderly patients in nursing facilities.

The study found that over 50% of the facility-based elderly population had experienced bedsores. Those with serious bedsores were more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.

The study also found that facilities with a higher quality of care were correlated with fewer mental health issues among the patients. These findings are the first to discover a link between bedsores and mental health issues in facility-based elderly patients.

Due to nursing facilities' abuse, physical pain and mental trauma are not always easy for others to recognize. However, the physical pain and mental distress due to nursing home neglect can be very real.

How to Prevent Bedsores

To relieve pressure under the heels of patients confined to a bed or a chair, many healthcare professionals insert foam padding under the patient's heels.

Preventing bedsores is important for bedridden or sitting patients, as they don't move around and blood flow slows down. Nursing home staff can prevent bedsores by turning or moving their residents hourly.

Bedsores Treatment

The proper care of bedsores (or pressure sores) is essential to the survival and general wellbeing of the patient. A nursing facility patient can develop bedsores if they are not turned or moved to prevent pressure points from developing into bedsores.

To promote healing, especially of bedsores or blisters, healthcare professionals may use various products to clean and debride (clean off dead tissue) the area.

Proper nutrition is essential for a patient to receive the nutrients needed to help with healing and prevent an infection from forming.

Untreated bedsores are a common problem for patients in hospitals. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines bedsores as localized injury to the skin or underlying tissue.

If a patient is released home from a healthcare facility with bedsores, the patient could be sent home with special equipment, like a "transfer sheet" (also known as an "over bed table") to make turning the patient easier.

Increasing Life Expectancy in Nursing Homes

Nursing facilities have a long history of being a place where people go to live out the rest of their lives. In reality, they are often understaffed, underfunded, and poorly run facilities.

Medical treatment of the elderly is of particular interest because of the increase in life expectancy of the baby boomers, which is expected to increase demand for these long-term care facilities.

An Increase in Abuse and Neglect

According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), reports of abuse and neglect at nursing homes increased by 20% from 2007 through 2009. In its report on this, GAO cited poor administration as a primary factor in these numbers.

There are currently over 1.7×106 people living in nursing facilities across the country, and the number is expected to rise as the American population ages.

Statistics published in the JAMA found that residents aged 65 or older have a high risk for experiencing pressure ulcers within long-term care facilities due to factors such as immobility and physical disability. Between 15% and 25% of residents experience pressure ulcers every year.

Most at Risk of Bedsores

The study found that over 50% of the facility-based elderly population had experienced bedsores. Those with serious bedsores were more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.

The study also found that facilities with a higher quality of care showed a 26% lower incidence of bedsores among its patients. It is not uncommon for a family member to sue a nursing home for bedsores.

People in nursing facilities also experience problems such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and multiple chronic conditions that can lead to other mental health issues.

Physical Assessments and Mental Health Screening

Another way for this population to stay mentally healthy is through community-based activities or home visits by healthcare professionals that include not only physical assessment but also mental health screening.

Bedsores are more likely to develop in patients with certain underlying medical conditions, including poor nutritional status and chronic wounds. Bedsores are more likely to develop when the patient is immobile or has an altered perception of pain.

Chronic conditions that can elevate pressure include atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and neoplastic disease.

Common Body Areas for Bedsores

Common places for bedsores to develop include areas where a patient is in contact with a bed or other surfaces, such as the coccyx, shoulder blades, hips, scapulae, heels, ankles, and the metatarsal heads.

Risk factors associated with the development of pressure ulcers include being male, older age, and low functional capacity.

The most common types of pressure ulcers in the elderly include sacral ulcers, heel ulcers, buttocks/coccyx ulcers, and perianal ulcers. These bedsores are likely to become infected if they are not treated quickly.

Challenges Facing the Elderly in Nursing Facilities

The medical care of people confined to a bed for some time, such as the elderly increasingly wearing diapers, is riddled with problems.

The mobility issues that many seniors experience can increase their risk of developing bedsores.

Life-threatening bedsores are more common than many people believe, and some of the most vulnerable patients include those with Alzheimer's.

A Bedsore Lawsuit Due to Nursing Home Abuse

If you or someone you love has suffered from bedsores, our nursing home abuse lawyers can offer you a free consultation to facilitate a bedsore lawsuit against the nursing home for your serious injuries.

A wrongful death lawsuit in an assisted living facility can take up to five years in court before a final ruling is reached. An insurance company in bedsore lawsuits can expect to pay $1 million and up, depending on the allegations and number of claimants.

If a nursing facility does not diagnose bedsores, the facility is liable for negligence. A patient's family can file a malpractice claim when they believe that their loved one did not receive the proper treatment.

Bedsore lawsuits are on the rise. As an ever-growing aging population spends more time in bed, bedsores are becoming a serious problem for patients and hospitals.

A bedsore lawsuit against a nursing facility for failing to provide proper medical care for a patient with diabetes required to have daily skin inspections provide the basis for the facility's liability, the Illinois Appellate court has ruled.

If you or a loved one suffered from patient neglect, our attorneys can help you fight for compensation.

Hiring a Chicago Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawyer

We know how difficult it is when your family member has been mistreated. Let us take care of everything so that you can focus on what matters most – getting better!

If someone you love has suffered from bedsores at a Chicago-area long-term care facility, our team of dedicated attorneys will fight hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our law firm has years of experience helping families just like yours recover damages after their loved ones were hurt by neglectful staff members or negligent medical professionals.

Call now toll-free at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago nursing home bedsore lawyer. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

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Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa