Bedsores, also referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, can be extremely painful and lead to a host of complications for nursing home residents. Bedsores can develop when there has been excess pressure on the skin for too long, and commonly form in areas where there is only a thin layer of flesh as well as where body weight is supported, such as on the tailbone, heels, elbows, and shoulders.
Bedsores, while they may not seem serious at first, can actually develop into fatal conditions. Alarmingly, many nursing homes fail to check the residents regularly for bedsores. It is imperative to ensure your loved one is well taken care of and that the nursing home is doing its part in ensuring your loved one’s health.
How do I find out if the nursing home is checking for bedsores?
In order to prevent bedsores, nursing home staff must turn and reposition residents frequently. If they notice any sores, they must note and treat it straightaway. Is the facility in which your loved one is residing doing its job? There are several things you can do to do to find out.
- Ask the manager and/or the staff about their bedsore prevention policies. They should have a policy in place that they can recite off the top of their head and are willing disclose you when you ask.
- If your loved one is coherent, ask her directly if the staff are checking her regularly and ensuring that she changes positions often.
- Ask to review any medical records or reports related to your loved one, if you have the legal authority to do so. Any bedsores, associated risks, or treatments for bedsores should be clearly noted in the medical file.
- Check your loved one for bedsores yourself and continue to monitor your loved one’s health. If you notice bedsores that the staff was unaware of or that are not being tended to, something is wrong. Failing to prevent or treat bedsores is a form of legal negligence.
What do I do if my loved one has suffered harm?
Nursing homes are legally obligated to take good care of your loved one while they reside at the facility. In fact, they are mandated by federal law to ensure that their residents to not develop bedsores.
42 CFR §483.25(c) provides: “[Nursing homes] must ensure that (1) a resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; and (2) a resident having pressure sores receives necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing.”
You have a right to know if the facility is upholding its legal duty to tend to your loved one appropriately, including the prevention of bedsores. If your loved one has developed bedsores and you believe they are victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, consult a nursing home abuse attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC to discuss your legal options. You might be able to hold the facility legally accountable for damages. For legal help in Pennsylvania, contact us at 215-791-8911.