Are Bed Sores Acquired During a Nursing Home Admission an Indication of Poor Care?

By Nursing Home Law Center

Nursing Home Admission

Without much objection, bed sores have become an accepted way of life at some nursing homes. Today, patients, families and caregivers at some nursing homes view the development of bed sores as an inevitable part of the aging process.

To the contrary, the majority of circumstances when a patient develops a bed sore during an admission to a nursing home is an indication of inadequate care or neglect.

At the very least, bed sores are a source of embarrassment and pain for the patient. In other cases, bed sores can progress to the point that an open wound results and greatly increases the chances of the patient developing serious complications such as: sepsis, osteomyelitis or gangrene. Yet, in other situations bed sores may be fatal.

Pursuant to federal law, any nursing home accepting federal funds must evaluate new patients for the presence of bed sores on admission and develop a plan of care to ensure that bed sores do not develop at in the future.

Most Nursing Home Care Plans Entail
  • ‘Turning’ patients at regular intervals
  • Ensuring proper hydration and nutrition
  • Keeping patients clean and dry

Studies continue to demonstrate that with the proper care, bed sores (also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) are an unnecessary medical complication that can be prevented when staff are attentive to patient needs.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes have jeopardized the safety of their patients — and have increased their risk for developing bed sores — by deliberately reducing the staffing levels at facilities to the point where patients’ needs go unattended — in order to drive profits at the facility.

Omissions in Care, Exposure to Forthcoming Lawsuits

When the nursing home’s inattention results in a patient developing bed sores, the individual or their family may be entitled to pursue a legal claim or lawsuit against the facility for their negligence. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, a bed sore lawsuit may allow for recovery of medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages or even death benefits when a nexus between the bed sore and death can be established.

Contacting a Nursing Home Lawyer

A lawyer experienced in prosecuting nursing home bed sore cases, should be able to evaluate your claim and advise you of your legal rights pursuant to the applicable law. In most states, bed sore lawsuits must be filed within a specific period of time known as the statute of limitations. While an applicable statute of limitation may allow for a lawsuit to be filed years after the poor care, it may take months to obtain copies of the medical charts so many attorneys suggest conducting an investigation as soon as feasible.

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