Alaska Nursing Home Neglect
Many patients residing in nursing homes are bedridden or bound to a wheelchair and unable to move without assistance help. Unfortunately, not having the ability to reposition themselves increases their potential of developing pressure sores.
To minimize the risk of a resident developing a bedsore, nursing homes in Alaska are required to follow regulated guidelines to monitor patients properly. According to law, procedures and protocols, every wheelchair-bound and bedridden patient must be repositioned at a minimum of at least once every two hours.
What Causes Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores (bedsores; decubitus ulcers; pressure ulcers) occur when there is a restricted flow of blood to skin on the body. The most common areas tend to be bony parts of the body that come into contact with the bed or chair, such as:
- Back of the head
- Shoulders and shoulder blades
- Buttocks and sacrum
- Ankles and heels
The lack of proper blood flow cuts off oxygen to skin and tissue at the pressure point. Within minutes, the tissue can become compromised and begin to inflame. Generally, red spots will begin to appear or noticeable fluid-filled blisters will develop.The Four Stages of Pressure Sores
Pressure sores are categorized in four stages. The earlier stages are easily treatable and reversible, where the advancing stages can be critically damaging and life threatening.
Stage I – There is no open wound when the pressure sore first begins to develop. The skin might feel softer or firmer than the skin in the surrounding area. At this level, relieving pressure and keeping it off the area can allow blood to return to the compromised tissue to begin the healing process. If left unattended, the tissue will begin to die from depleted oxygen and advance the condition to the next stage.
Stage II – At this stage, the skin will break open or wear away before forming an ulcer. Usually, the area is painful and tender to touch. What was once a Stage I blister has now turned into an abrasion (scrape) or the skin has developed a shallow crater. Often times, skin damaged by a pressure sore at this stage will be permanently damaged or dead.
Stage III – At this level, the pressure sore has significantly advanced and caused permanent damage to tissue residing just under the skin. The once shallow crater is now deeper and has formed an expanding crater. Fat may appear in the underlying wound, although bone, tendons and muscles are not present.
Stage IV – The pressure sore has now developed to the deepest layer under the skin and is causing significant and permanent damage to tissue very deep in the wound. At this stage, there are often exposed tendons, muscles, bones or joints.
The last two stages (Stage III and Stage IV) can be life threatening if blood infection (sepsis) or bone infection (osteomyelitis) develops.
Advancing stages of pressure sores in patients in nursing homes are usually caused by negligence or inattentiveness by the medical staff. This is because the nursing staff should have used proven methods to minimize, manage or reverse the bedsore in its early stages. In many incidences, the patient developed advancing stages because they were not monitor properly or provided effective treatment by an experienced professional.Taking Legal Action For An Alaska Decubitus Ulcer Case
If a loved one is suffering pressure sores caused by negligence by staff in a nursing facility, it is essential to take legal action immediately. Parties responsible for the neglect need to be held accountable through a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Family members of a patient injured in a nursing home can hire an Alaska pressure sore attorney to help them seek justice to stop the neglect. A skilled lawyer can hold the parties responsible for the bedsore financially accountable for their neglect and provide the victim the compensation they deserve.
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Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can assist your family to stop the nursing home negligence and seek financial compensation. The lawyers offer a confidential, no obligation free initial consultation to discuss all available legal options.