New York City Nursing Home Malpractice

Bed sores in a nursing home

A common issue negatively affecting the care of the elderly in nursing homes is bed sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores.  This condition is usually the result of persistent pressure to an area of the skin.  It is a common problem that is preventable and caused by negligence of nursing staff in failing to turn and re-position the elderly who are unable to do so themselves.

How to recognize if your relative is suffering from decubitus ulcers in NYC

It is important to be diligent in identifying if your elder relative or friend is suffering from bed sores, because sepsis infection can occur if left untreated and if the conditions permitting the bed sores persist.  Look for signs of bedsores as follows:

  • Stage 1—characterized by skin surface reddening, not unlike a light sunburn.  A Stage 1 wound is an early warning of a problem.  If caught this early, and if preventive action is taken immediately, the ulcer will likely go away.
  • Stage 2—characterized by a broken or unbroken blister, which means that the skin is now injured and the condition is no longer superficial.
  • Stage 3—the wound has become deep, affecting all of the layers of the skin, which is now ripe for serious infection.  The wound will progress rapidly to Stage 4 if left unattended.
  • Stage 4—the wound has gone beyond the skin, affecting even the underlying muscle, tendons, and bone. The depth of the would is more important than the size. A Stage 4 condition can rapidly produce a life-threatening infection if not aggressively and immediately treated.  If large enough, surgical removal of the necrotic or decayed tissue is often necessary as well as antibiotic therapy.  In more serious cases, amputation may be necessary.

Causes of decubitus ulcers

An elderly person is likely to suffer from decubitus ulcers in a nursing home if the care is inadequate, which is why nursing homes can be held responsible for failing to prevent and properly treat these potentially fatal wounds.  Since the elderly often spend many hours in a wheelchair or in a bed, it is critical to the prevention of bed sores that the patient be turned regularly, and that bed linen also be changed frequently.  Not doing so contributes to bed sore development and can rapidly degenerate into a serious or even fatal health condition.

Prevention and treatment

When an elderly nursing home patient has development decubitus ulcers, the following steps can prevent wound worsening or prevent future bed sores:

  • Alleviate direct pressure
  • Improve resident's overall nutritional status
  • Increase vitamin C intake
  • Increase protein intake
  • Ensure adequate fluid intake
  • Diffuse pressure points with air mattress overlays
  • Use lotions or emollients to hydrate surrounding tissues
  • Use padding, air mattresses and protective substances to decrease pressure
  • Use coverings to insulate, absorb, and protect

Without adequate nutrition, a bed sore wound will not heal.  If you harbor any suspicions that a family member or loved one has been victimized by staff members at an elder care facility, contact our nursing home abuse attorneysimmediately.

Don’t wait.  Contact a Rich & Rich, P.C.
nursing home neglect attorney
in New York City today.