A jury in Georgia has ordered the management company of a nursing home to pay $2 million in compensatory damages to the estate of a woman who died at a facility they operated. Shortly after entering jury deliberations, the jury ordered Subacute Services, Inc., the operator of Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to pay the award in relation to the death of 82-year-old Ruby Mae Taylor.
According to news reports, Ms. Taylor’s family initiated the nursing home lawsuit, after her death related to development of decubitus ulcers that she developed during her admission to the facility.
Decubitus ulcers, also known as: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or just bed sores are a horrific problem facing nursing home patients across the country. Generally deemed to be preventable, the prevention of decubitus ulcers falls squarely on the shoulders of the facility.
Prevention of decubiuts ulcers begins with the development of a detailed care plan for each patient to help determine what factors put the patient at risk and perhaps more importantly: what the facility needs to be doing to care for the patient.
Despite tremendous strides in patient care with the implementation of technologies, bed sore prevention generally relies on the consistent work of staff. Known to form when patients are left in one position over extended periods of time, prevention of decubitus ulcersgenerally involves:
- Regularly shifting patients in beds or wheelchairs
- Keeping patients clean and dry
- Utilizing specialized mattresses to alleviate pressure build up on the bony prominences of the body
- Ensuring patients have adequate nutrition and hydration
- Recognizing early signs of decubitus ulcers and alerting the patient’s physician
Sadly, when patients’ needs go ignored over extended periods, decubitus ulcers are a likely occurrence. Perhaps that is why the jury in the above matter held the nursing home management company responsible due to the fact that the inadequate care was a result of decisions made by the management company to inadequately staff or train the facility?