In recent years, the frequency in which nursing home neglect occurs across the nation has gripped the attention of both concerned citizens and the medical and legal communities alike. Annually, the numbers of individuals under some form of assisted living care increases, and ultimately, the law and the appropriate use of the legal system in nursing home abuse cases is crucial for patients and residents at nursing home facilities. Of the most common signs of neglect observable to legal and medical professionals, bedsores entering stage two (2) or later are generally a clear indication that an elderly individual or patient is not receiving even the minimum required care. Specifically, stage two bedsores indicate that the nursing home staff or caregiver has failed to provide the requisite prevention, identification, and remedial therapy required to address a previously developed stage one (1) bedsore.
Otherwise known as decubitus ulcers, bedsores are estimated to impact two and a half million or more patients annually. In general, bedsores are caused by lack of movement or repositioning of the patient by a nurse or caregiver resulting in prolonged periods of extreme immobility for patients. This lack of movement results in gravitational and bodyweight pressure to focus or pinpoint itself on specific locations of the patient’s body, such as the tailbone, buttocks, scapula, or hips, thus constricting blood flow to tissues in the affected areas and causing tissue death ultimately.
Moreover, this lack of movement and the failure of the nursing home staff to clean any urine soaked sheets or bedding causes further irritation to the skin, while exacerbating the bedsore injuries and increasing risks for secondary infections in the patient. While a continual irritation to a person’s skin, especially in the bony areas, can lead to stage 1 bed sores, a stage two (2) bedsore is the clear progression of a stage one (1) bedsore resulting a visible open wound requiring minimally eight weeks in some cases to treat completely. For patients, what this means is the discolored-looking layer of soggy skin visible as a stage one (1) bedsore has now become an open wound or lesion in stage two (2). Failure to intervene medically with a stage two (2) bedsore leading to the development of a stage (3) bedsore will almost certainly ultimately involve a recovery and treatment process that entails surgical intervention on the pressure ulcer.
Upon discovery of what appears to be a stage two (2) bedsores or pressure ulcers, professional medical attention should be sought as soon as possible to stop any further progression. The following information is relevant to the treatment and management of stage two (2) bedsores:
Should a patient endure the development of stage (2) bedsores which result in further medical costs or damages to the patient, considering legal action is a reasonable approach. Compensatory damages or actual damages are often awarded in nursing home lawsuits for neglect and negligence. The damages that are awarded may cover any or a large portion of financial and medical expenses, while also including ensuring that no future instances of neglect arise for the patient currently experiencing stage two (2) bedsores.
For Additional Reading on Bedsores in Nursing Home Patients, consult with these references from the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, among others: