It’s not easy to move an elderly parent or relative into a nursing home. Entrusting your loved one into the care of strangers is usually a last resort. However, you may have done it because you believed professionals would be able to do a better job than you could at home. It would, therefore, be distressing to find out that your loved one developed bedsores while at a nursing home. If you can prove that the nursing home was negligent, you may be able to collect damages. A nursing home abuse attorney in Lakeland can help you to build a case.
What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores are caused by prolonged friction or pressure on the skin and they are common in elderly people who have restricted mobility. Also known as pressure ulcers, they tend to occur when nursing home residents sit in a chair or lie in bed for extended periods. They often develop on the hips, heels, ankles, shoulder blades, and the back of the head where bones press against the skin.
Bedsores can range from slight discoloration to damage to the skin, bones, joints, tendons, or tissues. They can be difficult to treat. When tissues don’t get adequate blood flow, they can die. Untreated bedsores can lead to inflammation, abscesses, bacteria growth, bone and joint infections, and cancer. Some seniors have to be hospitalized and some never recover.
Bedsores can fall into one of four stages. In Stage 1, the skin is red and it feels warm to the touch. Darker skin may appear blue or purple. The patient may complain of pain, itching, or burning. In Stage 2, there may be a blister, open sore, scrape or other signs of damage. The area around the wound may be discolored, and the patient is likely to experience significant pain.
Stage 3 bedsores have a crater-like look since the damage extends below the surface of the skin. In Stage 4, there is a large wound and there may be damage to the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons. The patient is at significant risk of infection.
How Bedsores Can Be Prevented
Bedsores are preventable. The most important thing is to ensure the individual changes position every two hours. If the person can’t move on their own, nursing home staff need to help them. There are also mattresses, mattress toppers, and wheelchair pads that are specifically designed to prevent pressure ulcers.
Other precautions include ensuring proper hygiene and skin care. Staff should check the skin every day for signs of problems and ensure it is moisturized. Where possible, nursing home residents should be encouraged to stay active.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent patients from developing bedsores and any other medical conditions that can be prevented. If your relative was diagnosed with bedsores, a Lakeland nursing home abuse attorney can investigate the matter and determine if there’s evidence of negligence.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Bedsores
More and more personal injury claims are being filed against nursing homes after elderly people develop bedsores. Bedsores can be a sign that staff members aren’t properly caring for their residents. Often, they stem from neglect. Lawsuits can result from the failure to prevent, diagnose, or treat bedsores. A nursing home can also be held liable if it allows pressure ulcers to get so bad that they result in infection, amputation, or death.
In any case, it’s not enough to be convinced that your loved one is being neglected. You need to present evidence that the nursing home is liable for the individual’s injuries. Your lawyer will gather evidence in this regard, and it may include:
- Your loved one’s medical records
- Security footage from the facility
- Documents showing that the nursing home is always understaffed
- Details of the home’s hiring and training practices
- Testimony from other victims of neglect and their relatives
Types of Damages You Can Seek in Lakeland, FL
Minor bedsores may not require a lawsuit, but untreated pressure ulcers can result in serious complications. In the worst cases, the individual’s life may be in danger. The damages resulting from such a claim can therefore be substantial. You may be able to claim a range of economic and non-economic damages on behalf of your loved one including:
- Medical costs
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Contact Burnetti, P.A. Today for Assistance
If you believe you may have a case against a nursing home, contact the Lakeland nursing home abuse attorneys at Burnetti, P.A. We’ll look into the matter and do everything we can to help you. Your first consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose by calling us. Contact us today!