legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Common Areas for Bed Sores
Bedsores are damaged areas of tissue and skin that can cause life-threatening problems for the weakened, infirmed, and elderly. The sore occurs on different parts of the body when there is sustained pressure, shearing conditions, or friction.
Bed-bound and paralyzed people have an increased potential to develop bedsores on the buttocks, heel, head, back, hips, shoulder blades, or other body areas. Repositioning the body every 15 minutes can significantly decrease the potential of developing pressure sores.Pressure Sores on the Buttocks
The hipbones, buttocks, and tailbone have an increased potential of developing a pressure ulcer for paralyzed individuals or those who use a wheelchair. Paralyzed individuals will often develop bed sores through a loss of sensation from the waist down.
Patients who use a wheelchair might be unable to change positions to alleviate the pressure on the sacrum, back of the legs, and buttocks.Pressure Sores on the Heel
Developing a pressure sore on the heel is usually the result of confinement in a bed or wheelchair.
Tight bedsheets can constrict the foot and ankle from movement while increasing the potential of a pressure sore on the heel when the patient cannot move their lower extremities.Pressure Ulcers on the Head
A pressure ulcer on the head is often undetected because the patient’s hair can hide the sore. A pressure ulcer on the back of the head is often the result of immobility when paralyzed or in a coma.
The patient must change their head’s position every 15 minutes to minimize the potential of developing a bedsore due to constricted blood flow to the ears.Decubitus Ulcers on Backs
Developing a decubitus ulcer commonly develops on the back, shoulders, and arms of people confined to a bed or wheelchair.
Hard objects from the wheelchair, including the armrests and the mattress and linens on the bed, produce constant pressure on the skin.
The shoulder blades and spine can easily rub against the back of the chair or mattress springs, causing pressure ulcers. Additionally, wheelchairs can produce extensive pressure sores through friction when the chair is rolling.
The Best Treatment for Bedsores Is to Prevent Them from DevelopingInformation About Pressure Sore Sites
Nearly all bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, pressure injuries, or decubitus ulcers) can be prevented, especially in a clinical setting.
Contributing risk factors for developing pressure injuries include people who:
- Recently experienced a hip fracture, which can often continue to develop long after leaving nursing homes or hospitals
- Are confined to a wheelchair or bed, especially if suffering from a spinal injury, or broken bones in the heels, legs, and ankles
- Are unable to position or reposition their weight without assistance, including unconscious people, or those paralyzed, injured, or recovering from surgery
- Are unable to control the bowels or bladder, where the skin surface might come in contact with excess moisture, which can soften or irritate the skin
- Are malnourished and not eating a proper healthy diet containing adequate protein, which can slow the healing process
- Are getting older, when the skin tissue often becomes significantly more fragile, thinner, and less elastic
- Are smokers, where blood flow cannot provide adequate nourishment and oxygen to the skin
- Are experiencing a fever, with a higher body temperature, placing excess stress on skin already at risk for developing bedsores
- Are already suffering pre-existing health conditions, compromising the healing process, including diabetics and those with heart disease
- Experience extensive nerve damage symptoms, creating numbness or tingling sensation that compromises mobility
According to information from the Mayo Clinic, any individuals living in nursing homes receiving care and services from the medical team are at risk of skin breakdown leading to pressure sores.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires every wound care specialist and care team in a nursing home to have the training, resources, and information necessary to identify developing pressure sores.Treating Pressure Ulcers
According to the Mayo Clinic resources, the best way to treat bedsores is through prevention or taking steps to reduce any further damage.
The best treatments relieve pressure on the skin by repositioning the body often, allowing the body weight to spread out evenly across the mattress, wheelchair, or other support and prevent pressure on the tailbone, backs, and arms.
Caregivers should keep the pressure ulcer clean and covered and slightly moist. The patient must be fed a healthy diet.
Some doctors and wound care specialists recommend using off-loading pillows and foam pads to alleviate pressure on the heels, tailbone, spine, shoulder blades, hips, ankles, and skin, allowing the bedsore to heal completely.
If the skin has been compromised, the surgeon may recommend skin grafts as an effective treatment to allow new tissue to grow over the exposed bone and muscle on bed sore sites.
Grafting skin is usually necessary when a deep infection into the wound’s base has eroded the affected area and killed surrounding tissue.
The medical staff and administrators at a hospital, nursing home, and an assisted living facility are responsible for providing every elder or injured patient with information and proper care.
The nursing home staff must provide treatment to avoid pressure sores, promptly identify pressure sores surfacing, and treat existing sores to ensure they do not worsen, become infected, or lead to serious health issues, including infected bones (osteomyelitis) or blood infection (sepsis).
Nursing Home Law Center LLC at (800) 926-7565 hold the medical staff accountable for negligence leading to bedsores and pressure ulcers, including:
- Failing to readjust the patient's position at least every ninety minutes
- Failure to identify symptoms associated with pressure sores including pain, heat, or darkened colored areas in the damaged skin area
- Failing to monitor and treat a bedsore properly
- Failing to provide proper nutrition to promote bedsore healing
- Failing to provide necessary assistance with the patient’s hygiene
Our seasoned pressure sore attorneys are experienced in established elder law and pursue justice and security for every client. We hold responsible parties accountable to protect the rights of the injured when seeking financial recovery.