legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawyer
Bedsores are a common problem for victims of paralysis or immobility. They can be incredibly painful and, if left untreated, can lead to severe health complications. Unfortunately, many caregivers are guilty of negligence when treating bedsores, including failing to provide proper care.
If you or a loved one has suffered from negligence, including the neglect of bedsores, you have legal options. The best way to stop the mistreatment is to take legal action. By filing a lawsuit against the nursing facility, you can hold them accountable for their actions and ensure they will not mistreat other patients.
The personal injury attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Don't go through this alone.
Call the nursing home bedsore lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free case evaluation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Anyone who has spent time in a hospital or nursing facility is likely familiar with bedsores and other pressure ulcers. They account for billions of dollars in health care expenses annually, making them a significant threat to patients' safety and well-being.
Skilled Nursing Care and Assisted Living Facilities
Nursing homes are residential assisted living facilities for the elderly or disabled. It provides 24-hour nursing care and assistance with activities of daily living. The government regulates nursing homes and hospitals that must meet specific standards of quality and care.
Most caregiving homes offer both short-term and long-term care. They also provide respite care for people who need a break from caring for a loved one at home. These facilities vary in size and amenities, but most have private rooms, common areas, and dining facilities.
An assisted living facility is an excellent option for seniors who need help with day-to-day activities but don't require around-the-clock patient care. The facility should provide a pressure sore prevention plan to help keep your loved one safe and healthy.
Medical facilities can be essential to a community, providing vital services to nursing patients. Residents of nursing homes can receive medical care, therapy, and social and recreational activities. They may also receive assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
If you are considering a caregiving home for a loved one, it's essential to research your options and compare the different facilities. Ask the assisted living facility staff about their experience, licensing, and quality of care. You should also tour the facility and speak with current residents and their families.
Nursing Home Residents at Risk of Bed Sores
A nursing home resident is a person who lives in a long-term facility. Nursing homes are for people who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Nursing home patients may also need help with medications and medical care.
Nursing patients are often at risk for developing pressure ulcers or bedsores. These lesions can be painful and can progress to severe infection.
Pressure Ulcers in Nursing Homes
Pressure ulcers, also called pressure sores and bedsores, are wounds that develop when pressure cuts off blood flow to the skin when a person is in a wheelchair or bed for a long time. A bed sore is a common form of skin breakdown.
Many nursing patients are at risk for pressure ulcers because they often have to stay in bed or a wheelchair for long periods. The risk factors for bed sores include age, weight, and health conditions. Caregiver homes can be costly and painful for patients when they fail to prevent bedsores.
Bed Sores Are Preventable Injuries
Pressure ulcer development typically happens sitting in a chair for a long time, being bedridden, or wearing restrictive clothing.
The pressure of the person's body against the bed or wheelchair restricts blood flow to the skin, leading to skin tissue breakdown and the formation of an ulcer.
Avoidable injuries can happen in any retirement facility, such as pressure sores. However, taking some simple precautions can help prevent stage 4 decubitus ulcers.
There are four stages of bedsores:
- Stage one: The skin's surface is red and feels warm. There may be some swelling present.
- Stage two: The skin becomes blistered and may have a clear discharge. The wound does not penetrate past the dermis layer.
- Stage three: The pressure ulcer opens through the first layers of skin but hasn't yet reached the bone. The damage creates a deep crater.
- Stage four: A deep wound that involves the muscles, tissue, and ligaments and may even involve bone. This stage is extremely painful, is infected, and could result in death due to sepsis.
It is crucial to address bedsores as soon as they are noticed to prevent the injury from progressing to a more severe stage.
Treatment will vary depending on the stage of the bedsore but may include special dressings, pressure relief devices, and antibiotics if the wound becomes infected.
Stage 4 Pressure Sore
The sore can progress to the point where it exposes bone or muscle. A stage 4 pressure sore may become infected and require extensive treatment.
Anyone at risk of developing a stage 4 bed sore should take steps to prevent the wound from developing, including turning regularly, using a pressure-relieving mattress or cushion, and moving around as often as possible.
With proper treatment, many people with stage 4 pressure sores can expect to live healthy lives.
Risk Factors for Bedsores
Many factors can increase the likelihood of getting bedsores, including:
- Limited mobility: Where a person is unable to move around freely
- Age: Elderly patients are at a higher risk for bedsores, as their skin is thinner and more susceptible to damage
- Poor nutrition: Malnutrition and dehydration can weaken the skin and make it more prone to bedsores
- Obesity: Patients who are significantly overweight are at a higher risk for bedsores, as they often have less mobility
- Smoking can damage the skin and make it more susceptible to bedsores
- Diabetes mellitus: Patients with diabetes mellitus are at an elevated risk of getting bedsores, as they often have poor circulation
- Poor circulation: Insufficient blood through the body due to an interruption of blood flow
- Incontinence: People who cannot control their bladder or bowel functions are vulnerable as they often cannot get up to go to the bathroom, causing urine and feces to stay on the skin for an extended period
- Skin sensitivity: People with delicate skin are at risk for bedsores as they are more likely to develop skin ulcers from the constant pressure and friction of the mattress against their skin
- Use of certain medications: Diuretics (drugs that increase the amount of urine produced by the body) can cause dehydration, which also increases the risk for bedsores
Bedsore Sores Statistics
According to a recent study, one in eight hospital patients develops bedsores meaning that approximately 12 percent of all hospitalized patients will experience this problem.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States develop bed sores yearly.
About 90% of nursing facility residents suffer from limited mobility issues.
Causes of Bedsores
Bedsores are caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Pressure on the skin caused by lying in the same position for too long, being overweight, having a medical condition that affects blood flow, or wearing tight clothing
- Inactivity due to being confined to a bed or a wheelchair or unable to move around freely.
- Heat and moisture because sleeping in a damp bed or clothing traps moisture.
- Poor circulation caused by diabetes or peripheral vascular disease can lead to a lack of oxygen and nutrients reaching the skin.
Complications Resulting from Bedsores
Pressure sores are common for bedridden people with limited mobility. They can cause:
- Sepsis: The wound develops aerobic or anaerobic bacteria, which can travel through the bloodstream and cause death.
- Cellulitis: The skin is red and swollen in the infected area. It is warm and painful to the touch.
- Osteomyelitis: The bone is painful to the touch, and the area is swollen. This condition can cause loss of bone.
Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence that occurs when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse, fails to provide an appropriate standard of care and, as a result, causes harm to a patient.
Medical malpractice may include:
- Failing to diagnose a condition
- Mishandling a medical procedure
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Failing to provide adequate post-operative care
- Neglecting to monitor a patient's condition
Nursing Home Abuse Leading to Bed Sores
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for victims. One type of abuse in assisted living facilities is a Stage 4 bed sore. In addition, abused residents may be victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Nursing home abuse may result in bed sores in the following ways:
- Neglecting the resident can lead to bed sores as the individual is not being turned and repositioned as often as needed.
- A lack of sufficient fluids can also lead to bed sores.
- Lack of air circulation can cause bed sores.
- Pressure from a wheelchair or medical equipment can also lead to bed sores.
Getting Bedsore Treatment
Qualified healthcare providers can often diagnose bedsores early, preventing them from worsening. Also, proper care for bed sore prevention can help to keep patients comfortable and safe.
There are various ways to treat bedsores, including:
- Keeping the skin clean and dry
- Applying a dressing or bandage to the sore
- Changing the person's position often
- Using a support surface (such as a mattress or chair cushion) that helps reduce pressure on the skin
- Taking steps to prevent the development of new sores
- Treating any infection that may be present
- Providing pain relief
Some people may also require surgery to treat bedsores.
The medical staff at the hospital will often place bedridden patients in special pressure-relieving mattresses to help prevent the development of bedsores.
How to Prevent Bed Sores in Nursing Homes
Preventing bed sores in nursing homes is critical for the health and well-being of residents. There are a few key ways to keep residents from developing these sores, including:
- Turn and reposition the patients every two hours to reduce the pressure on any one spot on their body.
- Ensure residents have a comfortable resting place with adequate padding and support.
- Ensure that residents are adequately hydrated, as dehydration can make them more susceptible to bed sores.
- Keep the environment clean and free of moisture.
- Regularly inspect residents for any signs of a bed sore.
Should a resident develop a bed sore, it is essential to treat it promptly. Staff should gently clean the wound and cover it with a bandage. A doctor may need to prescribe medication or surgery if the sore is more severe.
A patient's skin should be monitored frequently for changes in color or temperature to prevent pressure ulcers and bedsores.
By following these tips, nursing homes can help residents stay healthy and comfortable and avoid the pain and frustration associated with skin sores.
The Role of Nutrition in Bedsores
There are several steps you can take to ensure that you or your loved one receives the nutrition they need to prevent and treat bedsores:
- Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet, meaning eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
- If the person cannot eat solid food, ensure they take in enough nutrients through liquid or tube feeding.
- Check with your doctor or nutritionist about supplements that may be beneficial for preventing and treating bedsores.
How Are Bedsores Treated?
The treatment of pressure sores depends on the stage and how much it has progressed. In the early stages, bedsores can be treated with topical ointments or creams.
Developed bed sores, especially stage 4 pressure ulcers, could cause gangrene, leading to tissue death. More advanced stages may require surgical intervention, such as debridement or skin grafting. In severe cases, amputation may be necessary.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Stand On Facility-Acquired Bedsores
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), approximately 60,000 patients develop bedsores in nursing homes yearly. One in every 10 of these patients will die due to their injuries. In addition, approximately 2.5 million patients develop bedsores in hospitals each year, with 8,000 to 10,000 dying as a result.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates nursing homes and hospitals and routinely updates their bedsore protocol to ensure patients remain safe and free from developing pressure wounds.
Doctors, nurses, and wound care specialists must follow skin care procedures, including a comprehensive body skin assessment, to identify any developing bed sore in an early stage.
Medicare considers facility-acquired pressure wounds as "never events," meaning they should never occur when the nursing home or hospital follows appropriate pressure ulcer care procedures. The federal agency considers a facility-acquired pressure ulcer to violate state and federal laws.
The Medicare Nursing Home Compare Tool
The federal government routinely posts updated information about every nursing home and hospital in the United States accepting Medicare funds on the online Medicare Nursing Home Compare tool. Many families use this information to find the best medical facility in the community to care for an elderly patient.
The information includes all violations, complaints, fines, penalties, and healthcare problems, including nursing home and hospital-acquired bedsores. The valuable data includes specific pressure ulcer cases of residents in patients who have been injured or could have been harmed due to the facility's deficiencies.
Holding the Liable Party in Bedsore Cases Responsible
Did you or a loved one suffer from bedsores? If so, you may be able to hold the liable facility accountable.
You must prove the party was negligent in caring for you or your loved one. It can be challenging, but it can be done with the help of an experienced bedsore lawyer.
Should you succeed in holding the liable party responsible, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987
The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) is a federal law that sets the quality standards for nursing homes in the United States. If a nursing facility wants to participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs, it must meet the standards set by the NHRA.
What Is the Nursing Home Reform Act?
The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) sets quality standards to ensure that seniors who live in nursing homes receive high-quality care to protect them from physical, emotional, and social abuse and neglect.
The NHRA requires nursing homes to have a written policy on resident rights. This policy must be available to residents, their families, and the public. The policy must include information on how residents can voice grievances without fear of retaliation.
Another provision of the NHRA is that nursing homes must provide care that meets each resident's needs, including adequate medical care, social activities, and information about their rights. Nursing homes must also provide a safe environment for residents.
The NHRA gives residents the right to choose their doctor and keep their belongings in their rooms. Residents also have the right to privacy when receiving care or using the bathroom. Families can visit their loved ones anytime, without any advance notice required.
Penalties for Violating the Nursing Home Reform Act
Nursing homes violating the NHRA can be fined or have their Medicare or Medicaid funding cut off.
In some pressure ulcer cases, criminal charges may be filed against the nursing facility or its staff members.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Bedsore Lawsuit
Should you believe that your loved one's bedsores were caused by the negligence of a nursing home or hospital staff member, you may be able to file a bedsore lawsuit.
To have a successful case, you will need to prove the nursing home or hospital was negligent in caring for your family member.
How a Bedsore Lawyer Can Help
An experienced bedsore lawyer will know how to investigate your case and gather the evidence needed to prove negligence. They will also be familiar with the laws governing nursing homes and hospitals, as well as the rights of residents.
A bedsore lawyer can help you understand your legal options and what kind of compensation you may be entitled to receive. An attorney working on your behalf will:
- Review your pressure ulcer case: Your bedsore lawyer will obtain your medical records and nursing facility notes to review what happened and identify any possible negligent parties.
- Gather evidence: Your lawyer will collect evidence to support your claim, including witness statements and expert testimony.
- Calculate your damages: Your lawyer will work with you to determine the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
- File your claim: Your lawyer will file your lawsuit in the appropriate court and begin the process of fighting for the compensation you deserve.
- Send a demand letter: Once your lawsuit is filed, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the negligent party, asking them to compensate you for your damages.
- Negotiate a settlement: If the negligent party agrees to resolve the claim and drop the pressure ulcer case for monetary recovery, your lawyer will negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Resolving a claim may require multiple negotiations with one or more defendants.
- Present your pressure ulcer case to a jury: If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial. Your lawyer will present your case to a jury and fight for the compensation you deserve.
No one should have to suffer from bedsores due to the negligence of a nursing facility or hospital staff member. If bedsores have injured you or a loved one, contact an experienced bedsore lawyer today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Average Settlement Amounts in Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuits
As the elderly population grows, so does the number of nursing patients. Unfortunately, many nursing centers are understaffed, leading to neglect and injuries, including bedsores.
The average settlement amount for a nursing home bedsore lawsuit varies depending on the jurisdiction. However, according to a recent study, the average settlement amount is $485,000.
Holding Nursing Homes and Hospitals Financially Accountable: The Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on how long a person has to file a pressure ulcer lawsuit, which is critical to ensure that evidence and witnesses are available to testify. In the case of pressure ulcers, there are specific time limits for when you can file a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for filing a pressure ulcer lawsuit or nursing home bedsore case in most states is two years. The law provides two years from the date that you suffered the injury to file a lawsuit.
If you do not file a pressure ulcer lawsuit within two years, you will likely lose your right to sue.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If the pressure ulcer was caused by the negligence of a hospital or nursing facility, you might have up to four years to file a pressure ulcer lawsuit. If you are unsure what the statute of limitations is in your state, it is best to speak with a bedsore lawyer from our law offices.
Why the Nursing Home Might Diagnose Your Loved One's Bedsore as a Kennedy Ulcer
If you or someone you know has experienced a Kennedy ulcer, it's crucial to say something to the administrator. These sores often develop due to neglect, and nursing homes often claim that the facility-acquired bedsore wasn't caused by negligence.
However, our team of experienced attorneys can help you hold the caregiving home responsible for their actions. Contact a bedsore lawyer for a free review of your legal options.
What Is a Kennedy Ulcer?
Kennedy ulcers are a type of bed sore that can develop when a person is confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended period. The sores are named after former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was involved in a landmark Supreme Court case concerning nursing home neglect.
In the case, Kennedy sided with the nursing home, ruling that the facility couldn't be held responsible for bedsores that developed in one of its patients.
Because of this ruling, nursing homes often claim that the facility-acquired bedsore wasn't caused by neglect. However, many doctors diagnosing nursing home and hospital-acquired bedsores have found that Kennedy ulcers result from negligence.
If you or someone you know has experienced a Kennedy ulcer, it's crucial to speak up. Contact a bedsore lawyer from our law firm for a free consultation about your legal options. We may be able to help you file a bedsore lawsuit against the nursing facility and hold them accountable for their negligence.
Pressure Ulcers and Wrongful Death: Available Legal Options for the Family of the Deceased
Restricted blood flow to a body area can deprive the skin and underlying tissue of needed oxygen and nutrients, leading to a bed sore. If left untreated, a progression pressure wound can become infected, resulting in sepsis (deadly blood infection), osteomyelitis (life-threatening bone infection), and death.
All medical facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals, must follow pressure ulcer prevention protocol to prevent a skin breakdown that could lead to severe medical conditions. Any failure by healthcare professionals could be considered negligent or medical malpractice.
The loss of a family member is always challenging, but when the negligence of another party causes the death, it can be especially devastating. Legal options are available to the deceased's family if they believe the death was due to severe bedsores.
Nursing Home Liability: Determining Who is at Fault for a Deadly Pressure Ulcer
To file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of pressure ulcer death, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent in caring for your loved one. Negligence can take many forms, but some common examples include:
- Failing to reposition a bedridden patient every two hours
- Not providing enough support for a patient's limbs
- Not properly cleaning and dressing wounds
If your loved one was in the care of a hospital or nursing center, you might also be able to sue for negligence under the doctrine of corporate negligence. This doctrine holds hospitals and other care facilities responsible for ensuring that their staff is appropriately trained in preventing and treating pressure ulcers.
In some cases, it may also be possible to sue for punitive damages if it can be shown that the defendant's actions were particularly egregious.
How to Proceed with a Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuit
Do you suspect abuse or neglect led to your loved one's unnecessary medical conditions, decubitus ulcers, or deadly bed sore? Did negligent nursing home staff fail to treat your loved one's pressure injuries by following accepted standards of practice?
No one should have to bear the brunt of someone else's negligence. If your loved one died from pressure ulcers due to another party's neglect, your family members might be entitled to compensation for medical costs and other damages.
Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney from our law office to discuss your legal options and learn more about how you can hold liable parties accountable for their actions.
Bedsore Lawyer FAQs
Our personal injury law firm understands that many families have questions about dealing directly with insurance companies, hospitals, and nursing facilities after their loved one has been harmed through mistreatment. A bedsore lawyer from our law office has answered some of those questions below.
Contact a pressure ulcer injury lawyer today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number), or use the contact form for additional information and schedule a free consultation.
There are four stages of bedsores: red, blister, open sore, and dead tissue.
- Stage I bed sore: The red stage is the earliest wound, marked by the appearance of redness on the skin.
- Stage II pressure wound: The blister stage is next and is characterized by the formation of blisters on the skin.
- Stage III bed sore: The open sore stage is the most advanced injury and is marked by the development of an open wound.
- Stage IV pressure ulcer: The necrotic (dead) tissue stage occurs when a bed sore progresses to significant damage to the skin and underlying tissues.
Each stage of bedsores can have a severe effect on nursing home patients. The red stage can cause discomfort and pain, while the blister stage can lead to further injury and increased risk of infection.
The open sore stage can be extremely painful and may require surgical intervention to prevent further damage to the tissue. And finally, in severe cases, the dead tissue stage involving a most advanced stage 4 pressure ulcer can result in amputation or death.
The categorized wound (Stage 1 to Stage 4 pressure ulcer) must be documented in relevant medical records along with a comprehensive medical plan and skin care treatment to ensure patient safety.
Bedsores are most commonly caused by negligence and can develop when staff fails to properly care for residents. Nursing staff must perform routine checks of residents to ensure they are not developing bedsores.
Additionally, the staff must take measures to prevent bedsores from developing, such as:
- Repositioning residents every two hours
- Providing adequate nutrition and hydration
- Keeping the skin clean and moisture-free
Every family member can take legal action and file a nursing home stage 4 pressure ulcer lawsuit to ensure their loved one receives proper skin care after bedsores develop.
Bedsores can lead to severe complications, including infection, cellulitis, sepsis, and death. Additionally, bedsores can cause significant pain and suffering for the disabled or elderly patient.
In some cases, stage 4 pressure sores can also lead to the development of gangrene, which can require amputation.
The signs and symptoms of bedsores depend on the stage of the wound. In the red stage, signs and symptoms include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. In the blister stage, signs and symptoms include blisters filled with clear or yellow fluid.
In the open sore stage, signs and symptoms include an open wound that may be bleeding, oozing pus, or crusting over. Signs and symptoms in the dead tissue stage include blackened or dead tissue.
Bedsores are diagnosed by performing a physical examination. A medical facility doctor or nursing home wound care specialist will look for signs and symptoms of sores, such as redness, blisters, or an open wound.
Additionally, a doctor at the healthcare facility or hospital may order X-rays or other imaging tests to assess the severity of the bed sore. A stage 4 pressure ulcer is the most life-threatening sore, and a stage 1 bed sore is the least concerning. However, a bed sore at any stage could result from a negligent nursing home.
Nursing home and hospital patients are most at risk of a developing bed sore, especially those with peripheral vascular disease or autoimmune health concerns.
Many measures can be taken to prevent pressure ulcers in nursing residents. These include repositioning the nursing home resident every two hours, keeping the skin clean and dry, providing adequate nutrition and hydration, and using pressure-relieving devices such as mattresses and cushions.
Additionally, it is essential to monitor residents for early signs of pressure sores so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible.
Families of nursing home residents who develop bedsores have the right to hold the caregiving facility or hospital accountable for their negligence. Bedsores are a sign of neglect, and families can seek compensation for the pain and suffering their loved one has endured.
By filing a bedsore lawsuit, families can hold the caregiving facility or hospital accountable for negligence and receive financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other losses related to a pressure ulcer.
Hiring a Bed Sore Attorney to Pursue a Pressure Ulcer Lawsuit
Did you or a loved one suffer from bedsores? Any family member can contact our law firm today toll-free at (800) 926-7565 for legal help. Our team of experienced bedsore lawyers will work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our bedsore lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, operate on a contingency fee basis when resolving a pressure ulcer lawsuit. Your nursing home abuse lawyer isn't paid until our law firm wins your case.
Confidential or sensitive information you provide to our nursing home abuse attorneys about your bedsore case is kept private through an attorney-client relationship.