The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one. While you want the person to be comfortable and cared for, you know it is not something you can do alone. A person confined to a bed or unable to move around without assistance requires the help of a skilled professional. However, without the proper care in a nursing home, a person can develop bedsores that can lead to painful discomfort, infection and even death.
Bedsores occur when constant pressure is applied to the skin, causing it and the underlying tissue to deteriorate and become infected. Bedsores are most likely to occur where there is more bone than fat or muscle directly under the skin such as shoulders, hips, lower back and tailbone. These are also the areas of the body where there is the most pressure if someone is lying in a bed for a long period of time.
Bedsores are measured in four stages which increase in severity and danger. The progression of these stages can occur very quickly, making it vital for the area to be attended to at the first sign of a problem. Stage I includes irritated skin that is warm and sensitive to touch. Stage II consists of broken or damaged skin that resembles an ulcer. At this point there is still a very good chance the bedsore will heal with the proper treatment.
At stage III the wound is quite deep, many times with dead, yellow tissue at the bottom. With stage IV, the wound is so vast that the bone becomes exposed and covered with the dead or infected tissue, putting the patient at risk for the infection to spread to the bone and other parts of the body. Beyond stage IV the tissue becomes severely discolored and it is unable to determine how deep the wound is.
A bedsore should never get to the point where it is considered unstageable, especially when it is completely preventable. In a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital, it is the job of the medical staff to check patients for bedsores and take the necessary precautions to ensure bedsores do not occur. Immobile patients must be turned and repositioned in the bed so the skin has a chance to recover. This is imperative since the elderly are at a much greater risk for bedsores due to their fragile, loose and thin skin. Also, patients who are not attended to and are forced to sit in their own sweat, urine or waste for long periods of time are much more susceptible to bedsores.
When you make the tough decision to place someone in a nursing home, you expect the same amount of care be provided that you would give. Unfortunately, inadequate staffing or neglect has become commonplace in too many nursing homes. If your family member has suffered with bedsores due to the mistreatment and carelessness of nursing home staff, contact the experienced and skilled attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to get justice for their pain and suffering.